Building Capacity for the BC Stewardship Community

This tool provides a  strategic process by which stewardship groups can evaluate and measure  their performance in relation to best practices.  Also referred to as benchmarking tool, this process enables an organization to look at their current capacity and compare it to an optimal level of functionality and efficiency in order to improve their level of organizational performance.  Predetermined milestones are used as “check-in” points to monitor progress toward building organizational capacity.

Assessing capacity through a benchmarking tool can serve a number of purposes:

  • Identify areas where capacity is strong and those areas that could be helped by capacity building;
  • Increase knowledge of what the various areas of capacity entail and drawing attention to areas that organizations might not have considered;
  • Provide a snapshot of current capacity;
  • Monitor changes in an organization’s capacity over time. An initial assessment provides a benchmark of where an organization is before taking any actions. Assessment can be completed annually, biannually or following action to measure changes in organizational capacity;
  • Stimulate conversation within organizations and drawing out different views and perspectives from the members of an organization about the organization’s capacity. This can be one of the most powerful aspects of benchmarking. Often there are things that seem a little off to some or all members of an organization, but not knowing what to do about it, members put up with it or wait until it builds to a crisis point before addressing it (or continue not to address it and just have people leave the organization). A benchmarking tool provides a tool that opens up conversation about deeper issues in a non-confrontational manner;
  • Provide a common vocabulary for talking about capacity;
  • Challenge operational complacency;
  • Provide a vision of what higher capacity looks like and sets realistic targets;
  • Foster continuous improvement

Prioritizing Capacity Building

The lowest scores in an area are not necessarily the highest priorities; other factors should be taken into consideration. Once the various capacities of an organization have been assessed, the people involved in the organization can decide which are the most important to address given the organization’s unique situation.

No two organizations will be exactly the same: your organization can decide the number of areas to focus on at one time and the appropriate combination of capacity building strategies. That said, the Foundation area is a basic capacity building area. Other capacities build from having the Foundation in place and if your organization does not have a strong foundation, then goals are harder to reach and there is a greater danger of people’s personal agendas hijacking the organization. However, if your organization is about to go under due to funding problems, then you may need to focus on that as a crisis area.

It is also important to recognize that even though the Framework identifies 8 discrete capacities, all of the areas overlap and are interrelated and interdependent. This is good news since any work done to improve the capacity in one area will no doubt advance other capacities!

The SCBC Benchmark Tool

To begin using the tool, please visit our member page to login and access your profile page and capacity benchmarking tool.

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