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THE CAPE & ISLANDS
NONPROFIT ALLIANCE

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       One piece of the initiative that is already operational is the Nonprofit Support Program.  Additionally, the United Way’s new CapeCorps Volunteer Center would be a partner providing volunteer manpower and expertise to improve nonprofit operations.  Another component of the CINA would be the introduction of a management support organization (MSO) to identify areas of management integration and collaboration.  In turn, these efforts might result in joint purchasing agreements and pooled service contracts, which would allow the nonprofits to obtain high-quality goods and services for less money than they could obtain on their own as individual organizations.

       The nonprofit sector is a viable industry on Cape Cod with over 1,000 nonprofit organizations.  The nonprofit sector provides necessary health and human services and educational and economic development services, as well as environmental and cultural benefits to Cape Cod.  The Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance will provide organizational development assistance to the nonprofit sector, which will enable it to serve the Cape Cod community more effectively. 

       Organizational management needs of the nonprofit sector have been determined through direct-mail surveys (one such survey was done in 2001), feedback from workshop participants, Executive Directors' Roundtable discussions, and informal conversations with nonprofit representatives.  The existing Executive Directors' Roundtable will act as an advisory committee for the creation of the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance, helping to establish priority areas and promoting the idea of such an alliance within the nonprofit sector and the community at large.  The Foundation, the Center for Sustainability, and the United Way will co-chair an advisory group of participants in the Executive Directors’ Roundtable.

 

Project Description

 

The Nonprofit Support Program

The Foundation's Nonprofit Support Program will be the  centerpiece for establishing the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance because this program is already known to many Cape organizations.  The goal of the Nonprofit Support Program is to enhance the capacity of nonprofit organizations to strategically identify,  secure,  utilize,  and effectively manage on-  and off-Cape resources to meet the needs of Cape Cod and the Islands.   Over the past six years, the Foundation has worked to coordinate a regional program to help nonprofit leaders manage their limited resources more effectively and creatively.   During that time, the Foundation has worked with Cape Cod Healthcare, the Cape and Islands United Way, the Barnstable County Department of Human Services, the Tech Foundation,  and others to provide training and assistance in areas significant to their operations. 

       The Foundation will continue to take the lead to further develop and expand training and technical assistance to the nonprofit sector by offering the following services:

  • Seminars and workshops on topics based on the needs of nonprofits such as strategic management, program planning and design, program evaluation, and grant writing.

  • Organizational assessment tools for  evaluating the operations and capacity of nonprofit groups and determining their readiness for capacity-building grants and technical assistance (copy sent to EDC in 2002).

  • Capacity-building grants, designed to support the organizational development of nonprofit organizations  (or coalition of organizations).  

  • Executive Directors’ and Development Directors’ Quarterly Roundtable meetings for networking, information sharing, and speakers on timely organizational development subjects.

  • Short-term technical assistance and guidance in strategic planning, program planning and design,  and grant writing as well as in other broad management areas. 

  • Resources  such as the nonprofit consultant directory to help nonprofits in identifying appropriate consulting assistance and the nonprofit resource library at  Cape Cod Community College.

  • Partnership with Cape Cod Online to implement www.capecodvillagegreen.com, a Web site for local Cape Cod nonprofit agencies.   Groups have their own Web page on the site and can post calendar events and organization news.

This year, the Foundation will expand the support for the capacity-building grants initiative to nonprofit organizations.  

      
As is the case with many foundations, the Community Foundation of Cape Cod offers mostly program-related grants through its general and initiative grant-making programs.  Although staff members often see that a grant for some specific organizational management issue could benefit an entire organization through improved efficiencies, such proposals fall outside of our guideline criteria.  However, with EDC assistance the Nonprofit Support Program will create a pool of funding earmarked for organizational development and capacity-building activities to enhance the skills of staff and board members of nonprofits.  This support will better position these organizations to attract, manage, and retain outside funding, thereby improving sustainability in the nonprofit sector.   

      
Prior to applying for a capacity-building grant or for technical assistance, an independent consultant will conduct the Capacity Building Organizational Assessment Tool with the applicant to evaluate the existing capacity of the organization and its readiness for the specified assistance.  Issues that the assessment might reveal include an unclear mission and/or programming that does not reflect the mission of the organization; lack of board governance; and/or lack of financial accountability.  Results from the assessment will be a major factor in determining grant and assistance awards.

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