Nonprofit Capacity Project

The Nonprofit Capacity Project focuses on the various ways that nonprofit networks, including relationships with other nonprofits, businesses and government agencies, influence nonprofit capacity. Funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER award, this project surveyed nearly 1000 NGOs, including NGOs on every continent.

The research produced two important outcomes.

  1. This research developed and tested the Nonprofit Capacities Instrument, a short-self-administered survey designed to measure 8 dimensions of nonprofit capacity: board leadership, operational capacity, mission-orientation, external communication, staff development, financial capacity, adaptive capacity, and strategic planning. The instrument is available to nonprofits in the publication (if you encounter a paywall, just e-mail us and we’ll get you a copy).

Shumate, M., Cooper, K. R., Pilny, A. & Pena-y-Lillo, M. (2017). The nonprofit capacities instrument. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 28, 155-174. DOI: 10.1002/nml.21276.

In addition, we are currently developing a web-based tool for nonprofits to complete the survey and benchmark their results against our sample of other organizations. We hope to launch this tool in the Summer of 2018.

  1. This research examined the relationship between the types of collaborations that nonprofits maintain and their capacity. We find that having many robust partnerships with other nonprofits or cross-sector partnerships has no effect on nonprofit capacity. Those results are published in a forthcoming paper (if you encounter a paywall, just e-mail us and we’ll get you a copy):

Shumate, M., Fu, J. S., & Cooper, K. R. (in press). Does cross-sector collaboration lead to higher nonprofit capacity? Journal of Business Ethics.

Nonprofit Capacity Project

The goal of this research project is to understand and predict the dynamics of large-scale interorganizational networks, particularly among organizations that address disease and development. Nonprofits present one possible solution to many of the world’s problems;  however, the nonprofit sector does not yet possess the capacity to address large social problems alone. Instead, interorganizational networks that include NGOs are the best current solution problems of disease and development.

This project is comprised of two parts: the creation and validation of an instrument to measure nonprofit capacity, and examination of the influence of multiple network types – including government affiliation, corporate sponsorships, and nonprofit networks – on nonprofit capacity.

  • Funded by National Science Foundation
  • Duration: 2010 – present
  • Data collection: Worldwide
  • Estimated number of participants: 700+ nonprofit executive directors