Capacity Building

How do we move from being grant driven to a focus on a mission that supports our goals?
All trails lead to your core business ideas which are stated in your vision, mission and values.

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Thoughts on Systems Thinking

by Dr. Karen A. Johnson, former CAPACITY Director


Think of your non-profit organization as a system made up of parts or subsystems that work together to accomplish a goal. Each part of the system is needed because the system is interdependent. Change to one part of the system affects the entire system.


For example, a pile of leaves is not a system, because you can remove a leaf, and you will still have a pile of leaves. However, a tree is a system. If you remove a limb or disturb its roots, the entire system is affected by this change.


Likewise, an organization is a system made up of subsystems such as programs, functions and people. If you change a subsystem, the entire system changes. Systems thinking helps you see patterns and connections that may provide answers to problems you are experiencing, or help you see how things can work together more efficiently. If you are not getting the results you want, think about the quote above and use this site to determine what changes are needed in your organization to get the right results.

Welcome to this unique and valuable site for building strength for your non-profit systems.

Strengthening your organization to achieve its mission and sustain itself over time is a tough challenge for many non-profits.


This site provides information, tools, and resources to help organizations be better equipped to focus on their mission to serve the youth of our community.


I hope this site helps you better navigate and understand the components of running your organization.


Mary Segawa
Executive Director, 2004-2010

Capacity Building Worksheets

Download all the worksheets


Save this zip file to your computer, unzip the file and then open and use the Word and Excel tools in your organization.

"Your system is perfectly designed to give you the result you’re getting."
  —W. Edwards Deming