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Capacity Building

2022 HFL Capacity Building Logo.jpg
Young Business Colleagues
Board Meeting

Capacity building is not just about the capacity of a nonprofit today -- it's about the nonprofit’s ability to deliver its mission effectively now, and in the future. Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit. When capacity building is successful, it strengthens a nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission over time, thereby enhancing the nonprofit’s ability to have a positive impact on lives and communities.

Capacity building is the all-important “infrastructure” that supports and shapes charitable nonprofits into forces for good. Capacity building enables nonprofit organizations and their leaders to develop competencies and skills that can make them more effective and sustainable, thus increasing the potential for charitable nonprofits to enrich lives and solve society’s most intractable problems.

capacity-building is a measurable improvement in an organization's ability to fulfill its mission through a blend of sound management, strong governance, and dedication to assessing and achieving results.

Efforts to strengthen: 

Organizational infrastructure

Management and governance

staff capacity

Helps avoid "mission drift"—a loss of focus on your nonprofit's founding principles.

Capacity building often involves completing a series of deliberate action steps and using a combination of complementary strategies—such as assessment, strategic planning, information sharing, training, technical assistance, coaching, resource development, and evaluation—that support organizations to achieve current and future goals.

an ongoing, evidence-informed process used to develop a system's potential to be productive and effective.

Consider this grid from the Center for Public Skills Training to assess where to target capacity-building efforts:


Mission, vision and strategy
Strategic planning
Organizational planning


Strategic relationships
Collaboration and strategic restructuring
Marketing and communications

Governance and leadership
Leadership development
Board development
Succession planning


Resource development
Fund development
Business planning for revenue generation

Service delivery and impact
Program design and development
Outcomes measurement
Program analysis and evaluation


Internal operations and management
Human resources management
Financial management
Technology and information systems
Facility planning
Legal and risk assessment
Volunteer development

Examples of Capacity Building Projects

  • Strategic Planning for Nonprofits 

  • Use of HFL's Incubator Space 

  • Provision of tools 

    • Jumpstart Program

    • donor database 

    • educational materials and courses

  • identifying a communications strategy

  • improving volunteer recruitment

  • ensuring thoughtful leadership succession

  • updating a nonprofit’s technology

  • improving how a nonprofit measures its outcomes

Nonprofit Leadership Academy

HFL partners with Indiana University Executive Education at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs to bring best-in-class leadership training for nonprofit organizations to La Porte County. Participants fulfilling all requirements receive a certificate from Indiana University.

The program includes six practical training modules in: Nonprofit Management in the 21st Century, Strategic and Operational Planning, Financial Management, Marketing and Communication, Planning for Fundraising Success, and Results-Based Accountability™. Courses are taught by seasoned practitioners.


2019 Graduates:

Christopher Taelman – Hospice Foundation
Jim Musial – Citizens Concerned for the Homeless
Gabrielle Ginther – Dunebrook
Edward Seal – Home Team La Porte County
Shannon Walker – La Porte County YMCA
Cheryl Dauer – La Porte County Meals on Wheels
Jeremy Sobecki – La Porte County Park Foundation
Monica Komasinki – Leadership La Porte County
Ashley Robbins – New Prairie Education Foundation
Erin Mooneyhan – Paladin, Inc.
Dorota Janik – Reins of Life
Ephphatha Malden – Swanson Center
Debbie Sellers – The Social and Learning Institute
Maria Galka – Visiting Nurse Association of NWI
Brandi Lewis – Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City
Karen Biernacki – Family Advocates
Connor Podkul – Friendship Botanic Gardens
Mario Rosa – La Porte Community Schools

2018 Class Graduates:

Lisa Smithson – Arts in the Park
Jeanne Ann Cannon – Dunebrook
Jennifer Olson – Healthy Communities of La Porte County
Amber Poff – Indiana Guardianship Services
Nanda Danitschek – La Porte County Symphony Orchestra
Janet Bloch – Lubeznik Center for the Arts
Michelle Shirk – Lubeznik Center for the Arts
Diane Wilczewski – Meals on Wheels
Casaundra “Kay” Hill – Stepping Stone Shelter for Women
Larry Smith – The Intrepid Phoenix
Nathan Loucks – The Pax Center
Kris Pate – United Way of La Porte County
Debra S. Varnak – Unity Foundation of La Porte County
Steven Bernth – Youth Service Bureau
Sandy Cogswell - Anam Cara Stables

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