Defining Building and Measuring Capacity Findings from an Advocacy Evaluation

by Debra A. Strong; Jung Y. Kim

Jun 1, 2012
Funders often focus their grants to build capacity, recognizing the important roles that leadership, skills, and infrastructure have on an organization's effectiveness in carrying out its mission. This article reports on results from Mathematica Policy Research's evaluation of Consumer Voices for Coverage, a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support the role of consumer health advocacy coalitions in 12 states. The foundation based the program on a study that identified six core advocacy capacities, and designed it to strengthen these capacities. The evaluation found that the level of funding, substantial and targeted technical assistance, and the three-year time frame of the program contributed to the observed increases in five capacities. Fundraising remained the lowest-rated capacity for most of the coalitions and may require different or creative strategies. The authors propose that funders need to address three main elements of organizational or coalition capacity: knowledge, infrastructure, and resources. Each requires different types of interventions.
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