November 1, 2014
Although BSCF has not completed a full-scale evaluation of all of its capacity-building work, it does have preliminary data based on early efforts and grantee interviews. This feedback alone provides the Foundation with clear evidence and options for other funders to take on capacity building using similar tactics at the field level. Key takeaways include: organizational networks are forming Perhaps the greatest benefit to field-level capacity building is the networking that reinforces the connections created. Instead of competing for limited resources, grantees are now brought together by the same funder, and under the same roof, to share their experiences around a common cause. Key to creating this type of field-level impact is first creating the space for these foundational relationships to take place. leaders are stepping up Evaluation data from BSCF's leadership development programs show that participants feel better prepared to assume high-level roles after their training, and existing senior leaders recognize a growing cadre of qualified up-and-comers with the confidence and ability to enter field-level leadership roles, even at regional and statewide levels. operational savvy is growing Technical assistance outcomes, while perhaps relatively easy to measure at the organizational level, are harder to quantify at the field level. However, conversations within both fields have shifted to reflect greater capacity and understanding in finance, management, data, technology and collaboration. For example, mergers were once thought of only as negative last-ditch options for safety net providers and domestic violence organizations. Thanks to BSCF-funded technical assistance, this opinion has changed and we continue to see more and more successful mergers among BSCF grantees and across the entire field. field leaders are more connected Leaders throughout the domestic violence field (and to some extent the community health center field as well) say that they feel more connected to their peers and have more opportunities to discuss ideas and work in collaboration. In particular, participants in the Strong Field Project report more knowledge sharing and more common language and frameworks used when discussing issues important to the field and its future.