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Building the Strength of Nonprofits in Ohio

This past February, Resilia and Philanthropy Ohio held a learning conversation on the capacity-building landscape of Ohio nonprofits with key funders in the state and members of Philanthropy Ohio. The discussion was thought-provoking and rich, with a key takeaway: both funders and nonprofits need support in building their own capacity to engage in trust-based work.

Cathy García & Heather Jackson, Resilia

For the last six months, Philanthropy Ohio and Resilia have teamed up to provide essential capacity-building resources to nonprofits and community partners throughout the state of Ohio. Resilia’s mission is to support change-makers and funders who trust their community partners to know what they need and support their access to tools and resources when and where they need them. Philanthropy Ohio, a statewide membership community for funders, empowers Ohio philanthropy through advocacy, learning opportunities, and centering equity. 

This past February, Resilia and Philanthropy Ohio held a learning conversation on the capacity-building landscape of Ohio nonprofits with key funders in the state and members of Philanthropy Ohio. The discussion was thought-provoking and rich, with a key takeaway: both funders and nonprofits need support in building their own capacity to engage in trust-based work. 

Resilia is fortunate to work with funders like the Char and Chuck Fowler Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, Nord Family Foundation, KeyBank and United Way of Greater Cleveland, leveraging our technology to offer nonprofits access to Resilia’s online platform, 1:1 nonprofit coaching and peer-to-peer learning – allowing grantees to build mission-facing and back-office capacity that best suits them.

Resilia logo

Resilia’s unique data capabilities allow us to gain valuable insights into the most pressing needs of nonprofits. Nationally, we’ve found that nonprofit organizations seek significant capacity support in three key areas:

  • Board Management and supporting the capacity of their governing body and the development of best practices and tools;
  • Fundraising and increasing income, diversifying funding streams and building financial stability, and; 
  • Operations and Administrative Support to help build compliance policies, human capital infrastructure and other operational needs.

In addition to the insights above, we learned that Ohio-based nonprofits had a particular focus on requiring support for strategic planning; storytelling and marketing; and volunteer management. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many nonprofit staff are experiencing burnout at significant levels.

A Trust-Based Approach to Building Capacity

The traditional approach to capacity building assumes a prescriptive approach that often minimizes a nonprofit’s agency and experience. Resilia believes that one way to shift the traditional power dynamic between funders and grantees is to focus on building the capacity of organizations with trust, transparency and partnership instead. A trust-based approach to capacity building:

  • Recognizes community leaders as the experts in their own experience and needs, and therefore, the capacity needs of their organizations;
  • Thrives on collaboration and learning so that grantmakers are partners alongside nonprofits in building up the infrastructure of organizations for long-term success; and
  • Evolves with the needs of the organization and the communities the nonprofits serve.

We believe technology can play a critical role in supporting grantmaking practice that facilitates the application of these principles.

Where Should Funders Focus Their Efforts? 

Nonprofit Finance Fund’s 2022 State of the Sector report noted that 71% of nonprofit respondents reported being in a stronger financial position today than before the pandemic due to flexible funding. Yet, only 51% of nonprofit respondents feel flexible funding changes are permanent. Many nonprofits worry that these new flexible and transparent grant opportunities may not last in the long run. To create sustainable change, funders need to prioritize efforts that build nonprofit capacity and support their long-term success. By leveraging technology, funders can facilitate trust-based best practices while making resources, ongoing learning and capacity-building support more accessible.

woman working at computer


Technology is Shifting Post-Pandemic Grantmaking

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the world of grantmaking. Nonprofits and funders have had to adjust to new ways of working and communicating in a virtual world, and technology has played a critical role in this shift. 

With the increase in virtual meetings and online collaboration, funders have reached a wider range of applicants and grantees from different regions and communities. Additionally, technology has made it easier for funders to monitor and evaluate the impact of their grants’ impact and facilitate the grant application and award process. 

Post-pandemic grantmaking will likely be more technology-driven than ever, with an increased focus on online collaboration and data-driven decision-making. 77% of respondents the Technology Association of Grantmakers surveyed will move or have moved permanently to a hybrid work model, signaling a need for tech solutions that augment grant relationships.

By leveraging technology, funders are able to shift from traditional grantmaking practices to a more holistic approach beyond just writing a check. This includes:

  • Providing capacity-building support to nonprofits through the use of online tools and resources;
  • Accessing data to measure and evaluate the impact of their philanthropic efforts; and
  • Offering more transparency and collaboration between funders and nonprofits, leading to more effective partnerships and a greater collective impact. 

With the use of technology, funders can now take a more strategic and informed approach to their philanthropy, ultimately leading to more effective and sustainable solutions to social and environmental challenges.


There is increasing recognition of the importance of nonprofit capacity building across the sector, but challenges remain to overcome. Nonprofits need support to invest in their growth and development, and funders and stakeholders should prioritize capacity building as a critical component of nonprofit success.

Technology can be invaluable in helping funders  provide nonprofits access to the right tools, training, knowledge, and support they need to increase their capacity and effectiveness. However, it can be challenging for funders who often have their own technology and resource limitations to deliver all that is needed on their own. 

Technology partners like Resilia can help funders empower their grantees with the right tools to further their missions and increase impact in their communities. If you’d like to learn more, please join us for Building Equitable Grantmaking Practices on Tuesday, May 2, at 1 p.m. to deepen your understanding of the grantmaking lifecycle and discover new methods for equitable grantmaking practices, emphasizing trust-based philanthropy and participatory grantmaking tactics.

Cathy García
Director, Funder Community and Learning, Resilia

Heather Jackson 
Content Marketing Manager, Resilia



Philanthropy Ohio’s blog is meant purely for informative discussion of topics, practices and viewpoints in philanthropy. We collaborate with various members, funders, consultants, philanthropy-serving organizations and Professional Partners to bring you quality content. Guest authors are partners in our collective vision for a just and vibrant Ohio through impactful philanthropy. Statements on this blog reflect the author’s personal opinions and do not necessarily fully represent the opinions, policies, practices, values and mission of Philanthropy Ohio. This blog may contain testimonials, opinions and real-life experiences of members. However, the experiences are personal to those particular members, and may not necessarily be representative of all members or of Philanthropy Ohio. 

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