Sustaining Nonprofit Performance: The Case for Capacity Building and the Evidence to Support It

America's nonprofit organizations are facing an uncertain future. Many are operating with leaner budgets and face a wave of budget cuts as the federal deficit grows. At the same time, public confidence in nonprofits is at a contemporary low. Congress seems poised to enact new and stringent rules for nonprofit spending. Many state attorneys general find nonprofits a prime target for criminal investigations. The media continue to uncover troubling examples of excess, and charitable giving has yet to respond to the economic recovery. To address this crisis, Paul Light, one of the nation's leading experts on nonprofits and public services, argues, nonprofits must embrace capacity building measures. Using innovative data collection and analysis, he demonstrates how nonprofits that invest in technology, training, and strategic planning can successfully advance their goals. As many of the top leaders of America's nonprofits reach retirement age in the coming years, it will become increasingly important to ensure that the organizations they oversee (and in many cases founded) are able to continue their missions. Light provides convincing evidence that an organization that takes the time to invest in its infrastructure and future is more likely to survive and prosper. The alternative could be a long-feared contraction of the nonprofit sector.