About Nonprofit Organization Capacity

Nonprofit organization capacity building is the process of creating or enhancing those assets and resources within individuals, programs, organizations and communities to improve performance and advance their mission, vision and goals.

As described by Paul Connolly from TCC Group, there are four types of capacity: adaptive, technical, management, and leadership.


Adaptive capacity is the ability to monitor, assess, respond to, and stimulate internal and external changes. Adaptive capacity includes:

  • Organizational assessment
  • Program evaluation
  • Needs assessment
  • Knowledge management
  • Planning
  • Collaborations and partnership


Technical capacity is the ability to implement all of the key organizational functions and deliver programs and services. This includes:

  • Service delivery
  • Outreach and advocacy
  • Legal
  • Evaluation
  • Fundraising
  • Accounting
  • Earned income generation
  • Facilities management
  • Technology
  • Marketing and communications


Management capacity is the ability to ensure the effective and efficient use of organizational resources including:

  • Internal communications
  • Human resources development
  • Financial management


Leadership capacity is the ability of organizational leaders to inspire, prioritize, make decisions, and provide direction. Leadership capacity includes:

  • Board development
  • Executive leadership
  • Leadership transitions

Our Guiding Principles

At MCNL, there are seven core principles that guide and differentiate our work.

1. High Quality and Continuous Improvement

All that we do will be of high quality. Our programs and services must be second to none. Further, to meet the ever-changing and dynamic needs of the community, we will continuously assess and improve the quality and value of our programs and services. Three elements comprise this principle:

Customer and Client Satisfaction

We will strive to understand and exceed the expectations of our customers and clients, so that they receive high value and are fully satisfied with all aspects of our education and service.

Highest Standards of Professional Quality

We will continuously monitor and improve the quality of our programs and services. We will apply the highest standards for university-based programs of education and research to judge our effectiveness and quality.

Value-Added Programming

Every program and service we provide must be justified in terms of the value it offers our customers, clients, and the community.

2. Responsiveness

We will focus on understanding the community’s needs and expectations and developing appropriate and timely ways to meet them. We will offer a range of teaching and experiential learning approaches to respond to the needs of our adult learners. Our staff, advisory groups, and student body will reflect the richness and diversity of our community, and we will make a special effort to understand and respond to the needs of minority and disadvantaged citizens. We will serve organizations of all sizes, urban, suburban, and rural.

3. Integrate an Ethical Perspective in All Programming

Public service leadership and management can be understood and practiced in a responsible and effective manner only when grounded in an informed ethical perspective. All our programs will include an ethics element and will encourage the participants to understand the ethical implications of their service.

4. Collaboration and Partnerships to Increase Leverage

We will strive to maximize our impact through strong and effective working relationships with others. Using quality service as the criterion, we will work with the public service community, the nonprofit community, other units of the university, as well as other academic institutions, both nationally and regionally. We will model effective collaboration in our work.

5. Planned Growth and Expansion

We recognize our obligation to provide all programs and services in a well-planned and high quality manner that truly responds to the needs of our community. We can best address the needs of our community through thoughtful and carefully planned growth and program development, consistent with our capacity and resources.

6. Fiscal Responsibility and Efficiency

We will be a thoughtful and careful steward of the resources entrusted to us by the community. We will be efficient and responsible in our use of our financial and other resources as we provide the best in programs and service.

7. Effective Use of Technology

We will demonstrate the effective and responsible use of current and emerging technologies to enhance the impact, reach, and value of our education, research, and communication activities.


Learn More About MCNL

Our Services

Learn how MCNL can help your nonprofit grow and thrive.

Discover our services

Our History

Learn more about the founding and development of MCNL over the years.

Discover our history

Our Team

Get to know our highly experience team who is committed to building the capacity of the nonprofit sector in Kansas City and beyond.

Meet our team



Capacity is potential; it is the aggregate set of knowledge, skills, and resources that enables organizations to survive and succeed.