NEW REPORT – Movement Infrastructure Series Meeting the Need: Building the Capacity of Community-Based Organizations


The Building Movement Project (BMP) has released the first report in the Movement Infrastructure Series: Meeting the Need: Building the Capacity of Community-Based Organizations. BMP surveyed leaders in the nonprofit sector to find out what they needed to maintain and build their organizational infrastructure in order to fulfill their mission. The survey explored challenges that organizations face in achieving their mission by first asking respondents about four overarching domains that are key to maintaining and building nonprofits: 1) Operations, Communications, and Development, 2) Staff Wellness and Development, 3) Strategy and Evaluation, and 4) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

BMP targeted leaders of smaller community nonprofits that are often left out of national discussions on building nonprofit capacity. BMP also wanted to understand whether challenges differed when comparing organizations with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders and white-led groups. The findings—from over 800 survey respondents, including extensive write-in responses, as well as four focus groups—show the capacity issues nonprofit leaders face are similar across race. Nonprofit leaders want help growing their organizations, raising money, and addressing staff issues, especially burnout. Despite these similar needs, there are differences between white and BIPOC leaders when it comes to finding the capacity-building supports they need to address these challenges.

Key Findings:

  1. BIPOC and white respondents faced similar infrastructure challenges across a variety of indicators calling into question the assumptions that BIPOC-led groups have greater needs for infrastructure supports than white-led organizations.
  2. BIPOC respondents reported a harder time finding providers that understood their organizations and communities they served. BIPOC leaders were also less likely to rate the support they received as adequate.
  3. Respondents shared their greatest challenge to stabilizing and growing their organizations was funding. Money for capacity-building did not necessarily lead to funding for doing the work.
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