• Description

Launched in 2004, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's Organizational Effectiveness (OE) program goal is to help nonprofits become high-performing organizations that are healthy, sustainable, and successful in achieving their goals. The program helps grantees build capacity through grants of targeted support across all the foundation's program areas.1 In late 2020, the foundation's Effective Philanthropy Group (EPG) launched a strategy refresh of its OE program.

This report summarizes the results of a field scan conducted between January and August 2021 as part of this strategy refresh. The scan sought to learn how the field of nonprofit capacity strengthening has changed over time; who supports capacity strengthening, in what ways, and how they evaluate and learn from their investments; and how broader political, economic, social, and cultural trends are likely to affect the field of nonprofit capacity strengthening in the future. These trends were examined through: (a) a literature review; (b) 15 key informant interviews; and (c) discussions within the foundation's EPG team to analyze findings and their implications.

By making the results of this study publicly available, the foundation hopes that it will benefit funders (both in the U.S. and overseas); consultants and support organizations who provide capacity strengthening services; and nonprofits who are interested in or already on an organizational development journey. This study's constraints include a limited set of interviewees selected by the foundation, and concepts and sources that are biased towards North American perspectives. The scan also focused primarily on funders' experiences and did not directly include the perspectives of grantees. The foundation has commissioned an independent evaluation of its OE program, which will include feedback and input from grantees, consultants, and foundation staff. Evaluation findings will be shared later this year.