Learning from capacity building and lessons for other funders

Cornforth, Chris; Mordaunt, Jill and Aiken, Michael (2008). Learning from capacity building and lessons for other funders. Charities Aid Foundation, West Malling, Kent.

URL: http://cornwallvsf.org/2009/03/learning-from-capac...


Building the capacity of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) is a 'hot' topic. A major driver is the government agenda to engage the VCS in the delivery of public services, and the subsequent development of a number of policies aimed at improving the capacity of the sector to do this. On the ground many small and medium sized organisations are facing a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive environment where funding is often harder to secure. As a result there is increased pressure to improve their capacity in order to survive and prosper. Yet our understanding of what makes for effective capacity building is poorly developed.

This report aims to help fill that gap. It presents the results of research on the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Grant Programme. The programme aims to develop the capacity of small to medium size charitable organisations through the provision of consultancy and financial support. The report analyses both the strengths and challenges of CAF's approach to capacity building and draws out wider lessons for other grantmakers, funders and infra-structure bodies that engage in similar forms of capacity building.

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