In 2013 GEO traveled across the country to meet with dozens of funders and leaders of nonprofits of all shapes and sizes and conduct "listening sessions" to learn more about their capacity-building experiences. GEO wanted to get a sense of how capacity building practice has evolved since GEO's founding, fifteen years ago, and what new trends are on the horizon.
They learned that some of the most basic challenges that led to GEO's founding still exist today. Questions persist about how to build strong nonprofit boards that really add value; how to build and track budgets in uncertain times; and how to look at questions of decision making and leadership. One "right way" solution does not fit every problem, because each leader and organization is unique, and circumstances are always changing. The good news is that as a field we know more than we used to about what it takes for funders to do capacity building well. Research over the past fifteen years has added much to the knowledge base for funders, consultants, and organizational leaders designing and participating in capacity building, and the field has matured considerably.