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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.

Illustration showing foundational support, direct response, organisational development and building the field

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

You can find all our capacity-building related videos here.

The importance of capacity support

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.

Working with local partners for high-quality capacity-building support

If you are an Oak partner and would like to be considered for capacity-building support, please reach out to your programme officer who will put you in touch with Adriana Craciun, our senior adviser for organisational development and capacity building.


The three principles that guide our work

Illustration showing collaboration and partnershipCollaboration & Partnership

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

Illustration showing ownership of the processOwnership

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

illustration showing ongoing processOngoing 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

Looking after yourself in the business of looking after others

Many of our grantee partners rely on leaders who work tirelessly to uplift their communities. Coaching provided by the Kairos Project aims to build the strengths and confidence of these leaders even more. Click below to learn more.
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Project grants need not be the enemy – A three-part series

A funder collaborative aimed to tackle the question: Can project grants be structured in ways that do a better job of supporting the organisational health of their recipients? Read more about the work of this collaborative effort from over 12 philanthropic institutions.
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Investing in exit: funders with foresight

We believe in exiting grants responsibly. That is why we developed the ‘capacity-building for exit’ programme with INTERAC, an organisation that exists to strengthen the effectiveness of civil society to challenge poverty and equality. In this article, the organisation discusses how this programme will help to leave our partners in a good place, as well as more resilient and able to continue their work without our support.
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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.