Strategies to Achieve Social Impact
TCC Group Strategy Programs/Grants Management Capacity Building Evaluation

Capacity Building

Our knowledge sharing activities reflect our commitment to prompting new thinking about planning, evaluation, capacity building, and grants management, all in an effort to help the field achieve greater social impact.

Our staff regularly publish and present insights from our work and develop new frameworks, tools, and resources for the social sector. TCC Group's knowledge is typically shared through a number of formats, including briefing papers, presentations, webinars, articles in leading publications, and our newsletters. Feedback is very important to us, and we invite your comments on these materials.

To receive copies of any of our materials or to request permission to reprint or redistribute them, contact our Marketing Department at (212) 949-0990 or

Books & Publications

The Missing Link for Maximizing Impact: Foundations Assessing Their Capacity
The Missing Link for Maximizing Impact: Foundations Assessing Their Capacity

This article discusses an assessment of 54 foundations that participated in taking a new tool, developed for funders by TCC Group, to explore five core capacity areas shown to be central to organizational effectiveness. The Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool’s findings should not be seen as a report card, but rather a data-driven prompt for reflection and collective learning.

Capacity Building 3.0
Capacity Building 3.0

Capacity Building 3.0: How to Strengthen the Social Ecosystem argues that it is time for a renewed conversation about capacity building. For years, the approach to capacity building has been limited to the capacity of nonprofit organizations. Today’s environment calls for a new framework that understands all actors to have their own capacity needs.

Foundations Need Capacity Too: Initial Findings from the Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool

For many years, the social sector has paid substantial attention to the issue of nonprofit effectiveness. By contrast, comparatively little attention has been paid to the capacities that foundations themselves need to achieve impact. What capacities are essential to advancing a foundation’s own mission? How do these elements compare to the capacities their grantee partners need?

We believe that foundation capacity – like nonprofit capacity more broadly – is essential to impact. In developing the FCCAT and sharing aggregate findings in this report, our core purpose is to elevate attention to this important issue.

The Sustainability Formula
The Sustainability Formula

TCC Group highlights the factors that determine a nonprofit's sustainability. He discusses the roles leadership, adaptability and program capacity play in an organization's success, and provides capacity-building recommendations for nonprofits to stay strong a shifting economy.

What Makes an Effective Advocacy Organization?
What Makes an Effective Advocacy Organization?

In an effort to develop frameworks and methodologies to be able to meaningfully evaluate policy change efforts, TCC Group conducted an evaluation of a cohort of advocacy organizations who were receiving general support from The California Endowment. This resulting paper draws on a variety of sources, looking at the context for policy and advocacy work and the distinctive characteristics of such work, outlining a model for evaluating organizational capacity and describing how this is adapted for advocacy organizations. This piece serves to benefit foundations who want to expand and improve their grantmaking to advocacy organizations, but feel limited by their ability to understand how to assess potential grantees or their capacity to carry out the proposed activities; as well as provide insights to evaluators themselves.

What Makes an Effective Coalition?
What Makes an Effective Coalition?

What are the crucial ingredients for an effective coalition or network, and how can they be cultivated and evaluated? Director of Evaluation Jared Raynor shares TCC's research on best practices with regard to effective advocacy coalitions. This work was commissioned by The California Endowment, a leading funder of policy advocacy efforts.

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Working in a Nonprofit Cohort

Learn about strategies and best practices when building the capacity of a group of nonprofits.

Learning to Fish – The Challenge Fund for Journalism

Read about TCC’s work with the Challenge Fund for Journalism, a funding collaborative that helped a set of nonprofit media organizations strengthen their capacity to generate revenues.

Be sure to read TCC’s guest blog on PhilanTopic, Eric Newton’s Knight Foundation blog, and John Funabiki’s blog on Renaissance Journalism.

Navigating the Organizational Lifecycle: A Capacity-Building Guide for Nonprofit Leaders

Senior Partner and Chief Client Services Officer Paul Connolly helps nonprofit leaders identify their organization's stage of development and anticipate and navigate future passages for success. Using a practical roadmap, leaders learn how to become more knowledgeable and proactive about changes.

Strengthening Nonprofit Performance: A Funder's Guide to Capacity Building

Paul Connolly and Carol Lukas synthesize the most recent capacity-building practice and research into strategies, steps, and examples to help funders improve their grantmaking to strengthen nonprofits. Click here to order.

Grantee Capacity Building: First, Do No Harm.

Paul Connolly recently presented at the Association of Small Foundations, where he discussed how foundations – large and small – can support nonprofit capacity building. Read Jennifer Ratay’s recent blog about the session.

Deeper Capacity Building for Greater Impact

Paul Connolly offers guidance for funders about how to plan, implement, and evaluate long-term, capacity-building initiatives. These programs offer grantmakers an opportunity to increase their impact beyond project-based support, but also introduce greater complexity into the grantmaking process.

Oregon Arts Commission Core Capacity Tool (CCAT) Report
Strengthening Organizations to Mobilize Californians

Lessons Learned from a Major Initiative to Build the Capacity of Civic Engagement Nonprofits.

Building the Capacity of Capacity Builders

This a study of management support and field-building organizations in the nonprofit sector written by Paul Connolly and Peter York. Read the executive summary and the full report.

Doing More With More: Putting Shared Leadership into Practice

CC Group Associate Director of Program and Grants Management Susan Misra, with coauthors Michael Allison, and Elissa Perry, provides a how-to-framework for developing shared leadership—a systemic approach for extending leadership beyond the executive director of a nonprofit organization.

Eight Options for Capacity Building
Four Core Capacities
What Works When You're Working In Groups
Fortifying L.A.’S Nonprofit Organizations: Capacity-building Needs and Services in Los Angeles County

Read the report here
Read the executive summary here

Cluster Consulting: Evaluation Services for Groups of Grantees

As part of TCC Group's Cohort Consulting services, our Evaluation Department offers an effective and cost-efficient way to help groups of grantees build purposely build their evaluation capacity, including an evaluation design and products and tools that may used in an organization's evaluation.

Building to Last: A Grantmaker's Guide to Strengthening Nonprofit Organizations

Today, as society relies more and more on nonprofit organizations to provide critical services, grantmakers and their nonprofit grantees share common concerns: how to make better use of limited resources in the face of growing need, and how to stay the course and reach established goals in a volatile, changing environment. This paper provides insight for funders on how to enhance the organizational effectiveness of their grantees and provide capacity-building assistance.

Presentations & Webinars

Advocacy Capacity: A Short-term Indicator for Success

How can an organization or funder know if they are on track to accomplish advocacy objectives? Derived from research and evaluation, Director of Evaluation Jared Raynor addresses the critical capacities associated with policy and advocacy work and helps participants better understand what to look for regarding organizational capacity for conducting advocacy activities.

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Cohort Capacity Building

Recently, TCC Group hosted a discussion, "Casting A Wider Net: Effective and Affordable Cohort Capacity-Building Strategies." The panel, moderated by Senior Partner and Director of Client Services Paul Connolly, included Fran Barrett, Director of Capacity Building, Atlantic Philanthropies; Molly Eagan, Senior Director of Business Operations, Planned Parenthood; Diane Oettinger-Myracle, Chief Learning Officer, Girl Scouts of the USA; and Peter York, Senior Partner and Chief Research and Learning Officer, TCC Group. There was a lively exchange of experience and ideas about this emerging practice, through which funders and nonprofit networks/associations provide capacity-building tools.

Casting a Wider Net from Michele Garvey on Vimeo.

Building the Capacity of Capacity Builders

At the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations 2012 National Conference, Paul Connolly discusses capacity-building ecosystems with Kit Gillem, Program Director at the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and Fred Ali, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. View the presentation here.

Designing Effective Organizational Capacity-Building Investments

Jamie Baxter of the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network and Latonya Slack of the James Irvine Foundation join TCC Group's Paul Connolly and Susan Misra to discuss the crucial steps funders should consider when designing capacity-building programs, offer tips on how to work with grantees, and share first-hand experiences and lessons learned in this webinar.

Understanding the Sustainability Formula

TCC Group's Senior Partner and Chief Research and Learning Officer Peter York highlights the factors that determine a nonprofit's sustainability. He discusses the roles leadership, adaptability and program capacity play in an organization's success, and provides capacity-building recommendations for nonprofits to stay strong in a shifting economy.

Creative Strategies for Limited Resources

Even before the economic downturn, corporate funders were under pressure to "do more with less." During this webinar led by TCC's Corporate practice, TCC outlines strategies to prioritize and focus your efforts, dollars, and resources. By defining and staying true to your organization's company's core strengths and identity, you can rethink your "portfolio of programs" to build relationships with stakeholders and meet reduced budgets without losing your desired impact. TCC also provides ideas and concepts for building efficiencies that may be needed during staff reductions.


Understanding The Sustainability Formula

Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Pete York discusses his new research paper which explains how nonprofits can remain resilient in challenging economic times.

What Makes Nonprofits Sustainable?

TCC Group shares the results of new data collected from a recently conducted survey of over 700 nonprofit organizations. In this podcast recorded with the Foundation Center's library director Charlotte Dion, TCC's Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Pete York discusses common characteristics of successful nonprofits.

Capacity Building

TCC Group Associate Director Susan Misra and Alice Hill are joined by their client, Bob Ross, President and CEO of the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation to examine the importance of strengthening organizational capacity as a key way to build sustainability. Specifically, they will talk about the Challenge Fund for Journalism, a capacity-building and fundraising initiative aimed at the journalism sector.

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Cultural Competency

Susan Misra, Jennifer Avers and Ana Ramos-Hernandez discuss TCC Group's experience with — and development of — culturally competent consulting practices. Jennifer Avers and Ana Ramos-Hernandez begin by discussing two examples that illustrate how both clients and consulting firms seek to be culturally competent. Susan Misra concludes by discussing how TCC Group's Cultural Competency Task Force is responding to the growing demand for culturally competent consultants.