Ability to implement, measure, and manage results
Organizational Capacity refers to the proposing organization’s or group’s ability to implement, measure, and manage its intended results, given the talent, capabilities, and financial resources at its disposal.
Organizational Capacity also includes a demonstrated past commitment to addressing structural inequality. In assessing this element, you are assessing whether the proposal’s intended results are “right-sized” to the team and resources available. This is a feasibility check.
For example, a national nonprofit with affiliate partners in multiple cities and a track record of success in direct service and advocacy could be in an excellent position to shift policy in its home country and maybe even influence policy in others. On the other hand, a young, grass-roots organization in a country that lacks infrastructure may be expected to deliver services to a disadvantaged community that had previously lacked access to services. However, it would be unfair to hold that organization accountable for shifting national or regional policy.
If a proposal ranks high on all other elements of the rubric, resist eliminating it from funding decisions purely on the basis of limited existing organizational capacity. As mentioned in What Is Structural Inequality?, there is a well-documented historic underinvestment in organizations led by certain leaders. Philanthropic funding can help rectify this lack of investment and bring capacity to nonprofits with high potential that have previously been excluded.
Questions to Ask
How well does the proposal demonstrate an ability to create impact, given the organization’s history and resources?
How much does the organization’s prior work show a commitment to addressing structural inequality?
How adequate are the organization’s resources (staff, budget, capabilities, governance, board leadership) for implementing, measuring, and managing towards intended results?
The organization does not demonstrate a commitment to addressing structural inequality, and it does not have the resources to effectively implement, measure and manage toward its intended results.
The organization demonstrates a minimal commitment to addressing structural inequality but does not have the resources to effectively implement, measure, and manage its solution toward its intended results.
The organization demonstrates a prior commitment to addressing structural inequality but its resources may not be sufficient to effectively implement, measure, and manage toward its intended results.
The organization demonstrates an existing prior commitment to addressing structural inequality and its resources are right-sized to effectively implement, measure, and manage toward its intended results.
The organization demonstrates a deep prior commitment to addressing structural inequality and its resources are more than sufficient to implement, measure, and manage toward its intended results.
How to Score This Element
The highest-scoring proposals (3-4) historically view their work as contributing to reducing structural inequality and have the appropriate level of staff and other organizational resources to successfully implement their solutions. A mid-range proposal (2) comes from an organization that may have addressed an element of structural inequality in the past, but whose resources may be slightly undermatched to the proposed solution. Low-scoring proposals (0-1) have no or minimal history of addressing structural inequality and whose limited resources make it implausible that its solution would succeed.