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Capacity building

We provide financial support for organisational development and capacity building. This support helps partners grow stronger in terms of their organisational capacity, so that they can better attain their grant objectives and achieve their goals. We provide this support directly to partners through grants or by linking partners with consultants that Oak has established partnerships with.

Partners can use the money to support any capacity issue they consider a priority for their organisation. These include:

Foundational support: to help partners to comply with basic processes such as legal and financial or fiscal requirements, registration and taxation, security and wellbeing.

Direct response: support which responds to specific challenges organisations face in their daily work, such as fundraising, strategic commuinications, leadership or programme design.

Organisational development: support for organisational transformation for institutions undergoing significant change due to a shift in programme focus, expansion to new regions, a change in leadership or the impact of external factors.

Field building: support for organisations that offer capacity development to other not-for-profit organisations or that develop resources, such as research or tools, which benefit civil society as a whole.

Illustrations created by Bill Crooks/INTRAC

Our videos

Capacity building at Oak

Adriana Crăciun is a Senior Adviser for Organisational Development & Capacity Building at Oak Foundation. In this video she talks about her role and the work that we do.

Capacity-building support at Oak Foundation

Strengthening the work of our partners is a priority. To find out what capacity building at Oak is all about, watch this video to hear our colleagues explain the importance of capacity building in the creation of institutionally strong organisations.


The three principles that guide our work

Collaboration & Partnership

We strive to foster collaboration and partnership with and among our partners, as well as with other funders providing capacity building support.

Ownership

We seek to ensure that our partners own their organisational development and capacity building efforts. We always consider the local constraints affecting them.

Ongoing processes

We view capacity building and organisational development as ongoing processes that require persistence, patience and flexibility.


Helping partners reach their planned outcomes

We support partners so that they can grow stronger in terms of their organisational capacity and they can better attain their grant objectives and achieve their goals. We provide this support directly to partners through grants or by linking partners with consultants that Oak has established partnerships with.

Through the organisational development and capacity building support, we hope to see outcomes such as:
  • Effective organisational leaders, with the courage and humility to demonstrate difficult decision-making, which will in turn enable staff to perform and adapt through learning.
  • High-performing organisations delivering meaningful, measurable, and sustainable results, from the perspective of the people or the causes the organisation serves.
  • Effective networks with compelling strategies that complement the work of their members.
  • Intermediary grant-makers with the strategies, knowledge, skills, attitudes and trust to support their own partners’ organisational development and capacity building effectively.
  • In-country consultants and civil society support organisations that can offer a range of high quality organisational development and capacity building services demanded and needed by Oak partners.

Our latest stories

“Organisational development – a smart investment to multiply impact”: Learning from five foundations

In this guest blog post by Rick James, principal consultant from INTRAC, he gives us an overview on a report about the benefits of investing in organisational development from the perspectives of five foundations, including Oak.
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Supporting the future of El Futuro

El Futuro is a good example of why we see capacity-building support as an accompaniment to core support funding. As El Futuro has grown in space, staff and the people it serves, it has also been able to put in place external branding that matches its achievements. The core support funding gave El Futuro the confidence to sign a lease on a new space and hire a development director, both of which helped increase its capacity as an organisation. At the same time, the capacity building funds helped it to rebrand as part of the new communications strategy to enhance its work.
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Enhancing our own capacity building support

To develop the ability of our programme officers to support the capacity building of our partners, Oak launched an eLearning programme in autumn 2018. Through this training, our programme officers can improve their abilities to support our partners in assessing their own needs, and will understand better how to advise on capacity building. The initial day-long event took place in November 2018 and was attended by 35 staff from Oak programmes. Participants shared experiences and discussed how best to support partner organisations to catalyse positive change.
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How to access organisational development and capacity building support

Oak partners and grantees interested in capacity building and organisational development support should contact their responsible programme officer directly. If you are not an Oak partners, please read this page to find out more about our grant-making.