Organizational capacity primarily concerns the inner workings of a group. Researchers and other writers have long explored the question of what makes a good group tick. For our purposes, we have identified five practices that build off of membership capacity and help groups accomplish more through getting volunteers (and occasionally staff) to work together. These include:
Policies: Efforts are made to record, follow, discuss and improve how the organization conducts all of its business (financial, volunteer / staff management, public relations, etc.).
Defined Roles: Volunteer and / or staff roles are clearly defined within the organization, including clear expectations for leadership and a timeline setting the commitment for different tasks.
Conflict Management: There is a known set of actions that addresses what steps will be taken to resolve disputes if there is a conflict of interest or disagreement between members of the organization.
Media Management / Outreach: A communication plan is in place that designates spokespersons for the organization and a plan for regularly updating local media about efforts of the organization.
Access to Advisors: A group of technical experts, community leaders, and others who can speak to water management issues are identified and have agreed to be available to support the organization.
One way organizations often look to assess and build their organizational capacity is through strategic planning. A good strategic plan will summarize (among other things) the group's intentions to follow through on the five aspects of organizational capacity listed above.
Access Organizational Capacity articles from Lake Tides:
Spring/Summer 2018 - Organizational Capacity
Spring/Summer 2019 - Organizational Capacity
Spring/Summer 2020 - Keeping Things Together (While Staying Apart)
Spring/Summer 2021 - Enhancing Board Member Participation - Job Descriptions, Expectations, and Evaluation (coming soon)