Mayor's Office of Contract Services
Printer FriendlySmallMediumLargeText Size
Get Adobe PDF Reader
 Adobe Acrobat Reader
(required to view PDFs)


Capacity Building Resources for Nonprofit Organizations

Capacity Building is an ongoing activity that nonprofits invest in. Staff can attend trainings and events in person or do research online. The resources below are offered by Nonprofit Technical Assistance Providers and by the Capacity Building and Oversight unit at the Mayor's Office of Contract Services.

Nonprofit Legal Compliance
Board Capacity and Development
Fundraising
Internal Controls and Risk Management
Planning and Strategic Resource Allocation
Human Resources and Volunteer Management 
Contracting with the City of New York

The resources are organized by management area, and include downloadable materials and online content selected for clarity and usability by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.  Please note that PDFs and other materials may take longer to load if you are on a slow Internet connection; you may prefer to request a copy of the Capacity Building Resource Guide for Community Partners, which can be mailed to your organization at no charge. 

Nonprofit Legal Compliance
A nonprofit organization is a legal corporation created under New York State Nonprofit Corporation Law and endowed with Tax Exempt privileges by the Federal Internal Revenue Service. With those privileges come responsibility to obey the applicable laws that define permissible action, report on the activities of the organization, and stay true to the public purpose, or mission, the organization was formed to achieve. The board of directors and the officers of every nonprofit organization have a legal duty to ensure the organization is in compliance with these applicable laws and regulations, and the City requires proof of such compliance before contracts can be awarded. Legal compliance is incorporated as a provision of City contracts on an ongoing basis.

Return to Contents 

Board Capacity and Development
A board with the capacity to develop a plan of operations and sources of support to ensure the continued operations of the organization is the most important asset a nonprofit can develop. A strong board of directors provides a vision for the executive director and staff of a nonprofit organization, engages stakeholders to support that vision, and exercises key oversight responsibilities, including fiscal oversight as fiduciaries of the organization. To fulfill all three roles successfully, an effective board requires a diversity of skills and an appropriate structure.

Return to Contents 

Planning and Strategic Resource Allocation
A nonprofit organization’s ability to understand the nature of its revenues and expenses and translate that knowledge into programmatic planning and success is a key aspect of its capacity to fulfill its mission.

In December 2008, Fiscal Management Associates and the Nonprofit Finance Fund joined together to present a workshop that offered nonprofit leaders concrete tools to lead their organizations during this challenging time. Topics include the effects of the current market environment on nonprofits, developing strategic responses through scenario planning and modeling, recognizing opportunities, revenue and expense considerations, cash flow and credit management and the role of the Executive Director and Board leadership.

Watch the 90-minute webinar review and download the tools

Sometimes alliances are the best way to achieve a strategic goal and amplify limited funds.

Return to Contents 

Fundraising
Every nonprofit must obtain the funds to achieve their mission. Strategies may include requesting individual donations from community members, collecting membership fees, requesting grants from foundations or government agencies or charging fees for services, either through a government contract or from the users of the services. Fundraising usually refers to donated public support, including from foundations, corporations and individuals. In the ongoing economic downturn, it has become more and more difficult to raise funds from each of these sources, especially funders that have not previously supported the organization.

The Foundation Center offers a library of short Web-based presentations (called webinars) that are free of charge to help nonprofits master the world of foundation fundraising, proposal writing, and engaging in the art of communication to support nonprofits' missions.
Watch webinars on nonprofit management for grantseekers 

Return to Contents 

Internal Controls
Once funds are raised they must be protected. A system of internal controls is an essential protection for a nonprofit organization against the risk of fraud or misuse of charitable assets. Strong internal controls communicate to New York City and other funders that the organization is prepared to safeguard public and/or restricted funds. Every organization will be different, but there are some basic best practices that are appropriate for small or large organizations.

Return to Contents 

Human Resources and Volunteer Management
Most nonprofit service providers depend on human resources in both paid and volunteer capacities to achieve their organization’s mission. Managing human resources effectively adds value to the organization and is a key component of organizational capacity.

Return to Contents 

Contracts with the City of New York
New York City agencies award human services contracts worth $2-7 billion dollars every year and the City Council and Borough Presidents designate nonprofit organizations to receive discretionary contracts worth approximately $150 million every year. These contracts can only be awarded to organizations that have the capacity to provide the services—before reimbursement under the contract—and the business integrity to receive taxpayer funds.