At the heart of venture philanthropy is an engaged approach with the funded organisation. Capacity building of social purpose organisations is one of the main activities VPOs engage in. Ideally what is provided by the social investor or resource provider matches what is needed on the side of the social purpose organisation. The social purpose organisations’ needs tend to come from internal parameters in the social purpose organisation, e.g. the development stage of the organisation, the management team, its social mission, business model and growth plans.
It is critical for capacity building to gauge the needs and assets of the SPOs. In addition to this, VPOs have different in-house capabilities to support capacity building and hence may need to structure the delivery of capacity building with third-party providers either paid, low- or pro-bono. The outcome of this assessment is then needs-based capacity building through a variety of tools such as strategic support, professional services and physical infrastructure. Most VPOs are also keen to understand in how far their activities make a difference or in other words, create an impact. There are several approaches to measure the impact of capacity building.
To understand what works best, we wrote a set of 10 case studies of best practices in capacity building, screened leading literature and ran several workshops in 2015. In 2016 published a report on best practices in capacity building, as below. The reports contains a summary of the best practices in understanding needs, structuring delivery of capacity building and finally assessing the impact of it, the AVPN Capacity Building Canvas and abbreviated versions of the 10 case studies below.
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We will continue to refine this and are keen to understand VP practitioners perspectives. You can share your views via firstname.lastname@example.org with us.