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What People Say About Us
"BSI’s experience in understanding and advancing the nonprofit sector in Montana is invaluable to the foundation community's need to work collaboratively to address complex societal issues."

Jean Agather, Foundation Manager

Oro y Plata Foundation
Capacity Building

The Case for Capacity Building
Nonprofit organizations are complex operations requiring a variety of management and leadership strategies to ensure success. The staffs and boards of nonprofits must be aware of the intersecting forces of tax regulations, corporate and employment laws, donor relationships, contractual requirements from funders, client demands, and seemingly endless community expectations.

Nonprofits strive to be effective providers of services to their clients and communities. However, important governance and management functions are sometimes neglected because of a lack of awareness, scare resources, or both. Compounding this is the fact that few nonprofit leaders have formal nonprofit management training and education. Instead, a majority of nonprofit CEOs come up through the ranks of program staff, or are managers who have “crossed over” to the nonprofit sector from for-profit business or public service.

Commonly neglected areas of nonprofit organizational capacity include:
  • Fundraising planning and fiscal management to marshal adequate resources;
  • Board development to build a strong governance structure;
  • Strategic planning to develop an obtainable vision of the future;
  • Human resource management necessary to attract and retain qualified employees; and
  • Compliance with legal and tax requirements to ensure that an organization’s nonprofit status is maintained.

Why should foundations and other funders help build effective nonprofits? Funders of nonprofit services, including foundations, corporations, and public agencies, have a keen interest in ensuring that their grantees operate both effectively (having the desired results) and efficiently (ensuring the highest level of service for the dollars expended). Nonprofits are the critical “delivery system” to affect the issues and problems of concern to the funder. Investment in both the service delivery (program) and the infrastructure (administration and leadership) is essential to ensure that nonprofit organizations effectively bring services to the people and communities that need them, and for a funder’s goals to be met.