Jitasa Nonprofit Blog

Capacity Building

Capacity building is front and center in my mind, after just attending the Alliance for Nonprofit Management conference (solid organization by the way.) There are 100 definitions of capacity building and a fair bit of discussion around what it exactly is. Strategic planning, executive coaching, financial training, and program evaluation all typically fall under the capacity building umbrella.

During the conference, we hosted a discussion on "Financial Capacity Building - the Pieces of the Puzzle." Historically funders and organizations that seek to help non-profits have focused training efforts on how to do accounting. We believe that capacity building efforts should be focused on how to use accounting, not do accounting. Financial capacity building has 3 stool legs- a provider to do the work, an ED who can use the info, and a Board/CFO/Treasurer/ Consultant who can monitor the process.

Can you imagine the Maryland Association of Bricklayers hosting 1/2 day Finance 101 workshops teaching folks how to use Quickbooks, teaching them the nuances of cost accounting, explaining debits and credits and then releasing them to go do all the work? Instead, realistically, they would teach them how to use financial information to determine their pricing, monitor cash flow, and budget for the future. They would teach them how to use the information and suggest to them they they hire a bookkeeper or accountant to do the work.

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