What Is a Capacity-building Grant and Why Is It Important?

24 April 2023

Non-profit organizations are always on the lookout for ways to grow. While most focus on project expansions and fundraising, it would be a mistake to overlook capacity-building grants.

What Is a Capacity Building Grant?

capacity-building grant

According to the Council of Nonprofits, a capacity-building grant invests in a non-profit’s effectiveness and long-term sustainability. When capacity-building is successful, the nonprofit’s ability to deliver on its mission becomes stronger over time. This empowers it to have a greater positive impact on the lives and communities that it is designed to serve.

To give you a more concrete idea of what capacity-building means, here are some examples of capacity-building objectives:

  • Creating and implementing a communications strategy
  • Ensuring leadership succession
  • Making improvements to volunteer recruitment
  • Improving how results are measured
  • Updating technology

These all fall under capacity-building because these changes make nonprofits more effective in fulfilling their mission.

The achievement of these objectives usually entails assessment, sharing information, training, coaching, resource development, evaluation, and other similar activities.

Hence, can help an organization improve its internal infrastructure, governance, collaboration, and viability.

Who Should Apply for a Capacity-building Grant?

It is intended for organizations and communities, especially nonprofit organizations. They are ideal for organizations that want to strengthen their capacities while expanding their projects and activities for long-term growth and success.

How Can an Aid System Benefit a Developing NGO?

Non-profit organizations need to continuously manage and sustain themselves while working on innovative programs and services for the benefit of their communities. Usually, traditional grants do not properly or at all support the behind-the-scenes activities of running and building a non-profit organization.

But nowadays, a growing number of foundations and grantmakers focus their philanthropic efforts on capacity-building grants to sustainably support non-profit organizations.

Non-profit organizations can explore and use these grants as a valuable tool to meet their stakeholders’ needs better through enhanced organizational structures and systems. These grants also help non-profit organizations build efficiencies into their internal systems, giving them optimal resources to achieve their goals.

A capacity-building grant (CBG) essentially focuses on a non-profit organization’s inner workings and not on its outward-facing programs and activities. It ensures the effective management of non-profit organizations and supports administrative systems and operations through funding.

A CBG also provides general operating support and helps organizations collaborate and partner with external learning providers and build sustainable communities.

You can find them in various forms. So, you need to distinguish between those that offer room for flexibility and those that focus on specific organizational and operational functions.

How Can I Improve My Chances of Being Awarded?

Since the ultimate purpose of a capacity-building grant is to provide continuous benefits to its constituents, your proposal must establish a clear connection between your nonprofit’s internal improvements and their long-term benefits to the community. You can get these grants to focus on different types of organizational capacities by assessing your current capacities and identifying areas that need improvement.

Capacity-building grants can be transformative for your organization because they enable you to create a strong foundation for the work you’re doing. If you’re able to build a strong internal structure, it’s more likely that your nonprofit will survive challenging conditions and continuously deliver relevant services over the long run. So, make sure your capacity-building proposal clearly mentions your long-term vision. Here are a few characteristics of a good proposal:

  • Provides a credible view of your organization
  • Articulates the specific challenges that you aim to solve internally
  • Comes from a position of strength (Your proposal should show that the grant will be used to build up an already promising organization instead of a fundamentally weak one.
  • Outline the direct results of funding and how your proposed improvements will help create a more resilient and lasting organization. 

By including these items in your proposal, you reinforce the idea that the grant will help your nonprofit’s viability and long-term sustainability.

How IMANA Can Help You With a Capacity-building Grant

If you are on the hunt for grant-giving donors, the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) provides capacity-building grants that your nonprofit may be qualified for. Established in 1967, our non-profit medical organization focuses on improving universal healthcare access. Our capacity-building grant enables us to give back to society while empowering other medical organizations to do the same. 

IMANA will offer grants to two medical-based 501(c)(3) registered organizations whose yearly revenue is less than $500,000. These organizations must be proactive in expanding their activities in the following areas:

  • Organizational infrastructure (operations, technologies, and facilities)
  • Program development
  • Staff capacity (staff development, new roles, payroll)

Alternatively, we are also offering two Free Clinic Grants. These grants will be awarded to two 501(c)(3) registered organizations that hold free in-person or telehealth clinic services. They must be looking to expand in terms of:

  • Clinical infrastructure (supplies and equipment)
  • Clinical staffing
  • Patient care
  • Health advocacy and education

Since our establishment, we have worked to improve the future of healthcare and make a lasting impact globally. We strive to offer equitable access to the best healthcare systems on domestic and global fronts. Our grants allow us to invest in like-minded organizations whose goals and values are aligned with ours.


A capacity-building grant is an excellent resource for organizations that want to build their capacities and competencies to grow faster. It helps them achieve their goals more quickly while enriching the lives of people in their communities.

If you need support for your organization and meet our criteria for grants, reach out to us and submit an application. You can also learn more about IMANA and the work we do by heading to our website.