To Build Capacity? What Are You Talking About?

We are all about peer-led capacity building here at SoACT, and we’re especially excited about doing this in South LA. But why? What are we really talking about when we say “capacity building?” What does “peer-led” actually mean? And why South LA?

Let’s break it down.

Let’s say that you’re the executive director of a nonprofit in South LA. Your organization does great work building urban farms / supporting families living with mental illness / training young people in martial arts / insert important-work-that-improves-quality-of-life-in-South-LA here.

But you want to take it to the next level. You want the kind of fund development that gives you a base of individual donors, strong support from foundations, and earned income to do this work for the long haul. You want a communications strategy that tells your message well to the right audience, at the right time, in the right way. You want the know-how to evaluate your programs effectively so that you can change what isn’t working and build on what is.

In a word (or two), you want capacity building.

So what do you do? You might ask around, hear that a colleague hired a consultant to address a similar issue a while back, and reach out to that consultant. You might approach one of your funders and say, “know anyone who can help me with…” (or, one of your funders might approach you and say, “we want to keep funding you, and we want to connect you with someone who can help you with…”). You might Google “fundraising consultants” or “communications consultants” or “evaluation consultants” and see what wisdom the Internet returns.

And, as you drift off to sleep at night, you might wonder: “Will they be any good? Can I afford them? Is this really going to work?”

If you do hire that consultant, they might be good, and affordable(ish), and it might work.

But there might be another way. A way that allows you to connect with a different consultant. Someone who has been in your shoes and worked for decades at a well-respected nonprofit in South LA. Someone who has made the same organizational changes you’re hoping to make and knows how to translate that into top-notch training and consulting. Someone whose work with you will make a real difference for your organization that lasts long after their contract ends.

Someone who gets it.

And – to top it off – you can hire this consultant knowing that the money that you give them will go directly to the nonprofit that they work for: an organization in South LA doing great work, just like yours.

In reality, we’re not pointing you to just one person, or just one organization. In fact, throughout South LA, there are consultants and consultants-in-the-making that fit this description. They work at nonprofits that are fiscally and organizationally healthy. They have a strong track record of great capacity building. And they are especially committed to helping South LA people of color-led nonprofits thrive so that the community can flourish.

That’s right! Right now, community-based capacity builders at nonprofits like Community CoalitionJenesse Center and SCOPE are partnering with SoACT to strengthen and expand their training and consulting work. With support and training from SoACT andCompassPoint, these partners and others will provide peer learning sessions and individualized consulting to nonprofits in South LA andgenerate income that’ll go back into their organizations. It’s a win-win, if you ask us.

This is peer-led capacity building in South LA.

Which brings us, finally, to you.

Do you like this idea? Then vote for it here (from Sept 1-16) and help us win $100,000 from the LA2050 Grants Challenge!

Do you work at a South LA nonprofit? If your organization has capacity building skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and an interest in partnering with us, or if it is in need of some quality peer consulting – or both! – We are ready to hear from you. Contact us here.

Do you want to learn more about peer-led capacity building in South LA?

Then stay tuned…