Across nonprofit and civil society ecosystems, a range of organizations and practitioners self-identify as "capacity builders", working to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of individuals and organizations so they can more fully participate, contribute and lead in justice movements and movement building.
Capacity builders do this work out of a passion for teaching, supporting, serving and building. We are most often generous with knowledge and focused on collective impact and network solidarity. We welcome opportunities to compare practices, share knowledge and deepen relationships with others doing related work.
As ubiquitous as capacity builders are across the NGO sector, it is too often the case that we don't identify or operate as a field, or as a rich and diverse community of practice. We are often placed in competitive rather than collaborative circumstances with one another due to the funder-driven nature of service delivery. Resource constraints can also incline relationships between capacity builders and clients to be more transactional rather than oriented around mutual aid or solidarity.
We think we need to hang out more, both to discuss all the above as well as to share skills, knowledge, experiences and visions.
While some discipline-specific communities exist to connect those working in areas such as digital security and data literacy, there are not many broad-based spaces for capacity builders to connect and explore the full range of relevant knowledge domains, from business models and client relations to intellectual property practices, self-care and ongoing learning.
Announcing Capacity Builders Convergences
To create space to explore and address all these dynamics, Aspiration and FabRiders co-organized the first Capacity Builders Convergence on 5 April 2022 online.
Given the rich and fruitful discussions that transpired, we plan to host a second Convergence on Tuesday 21 June 2022.
The convergences are envisioned as a collaborative and supportive environment to connect the broad range of practitioners who enable other organizations to strengthen their strategies, principles, practices and sustainability. We aim to explore and promote open principles and collaborative approaches around methodologies and practices that can be applied to our work.
We welcome those for whom the above resonates to join us in this first-ever convening. In particular, do you:
- Work with organizations to help them develop and strengthen internal and external capacity in their programmatic and operational work?
- Provide mentoring, training or advising to NGO management and/or staff?
- Offer on-demand or ongoing support to civil society organizations addressing security, financial or other organizational health needs?
- Develop open resources to be used by those working for social and racial justice?
- Do you also have interest in meeting, sharing and collaborating with others working in the broad range of practices areas collectively known as "capacity building"?
Capacity Builders Convergences aim to connect interested practitioners and map what our field looks like in 2022. Who is doing this work? Who are we serving, and who is benefiting from capacity building activities, and how? And how can we collectively do better, in terms of centering equity, maximizing inclusion, and increasing our collective impact?
CapacityCon is envisioned to strengthen the field by better understanding the support practitioners need, and in turn, identifying means to build solidarity between practitioners.
Collaboratively Developed Agendas
Agenda are co-created with confirmed participants in the time leading up to the events.
Topics the agenda to date include:
- Mapping the field: who are we, and what is the breadth and diversity of those working in capacity-building contexts?
- Comparing journeys and learnings in our respective capacity-building practices
- Centering equity and inclusion in practices and programs
- Sharing and comparing approaches to mentoring, training, facilitation and learning
- Peer learning on specific strategies, tactics and skills
- Considering more intentional sharing of resources
- Exploring and demystifying business models, service approaches, and financial operations
- Strengthening our sustainability and resilience as practitioners, including professional development, self-care and avoiding burnout.
Get involved! And please help us spread the word...
To participate, just email email@example.com and let us know about your current capacity building work, how this convening could be useful to you and what you might learn and share with other practitioners. There is no charge to participate.
Other ways to get involved before the event:
- Join the Capacity Builders Discussion List to participate in conversations and get notified of event announcements year-round.
- Help us spread the word about the event using the hashtag #CapacityCon.
- Follow @AspirationTech and @FabRiders on Twitter.
Help us co-create safe and accessible spaces
We invite you to check out our Participation Guidelines and Event Expectations for sharing and exploration at Aspiration events. All participants are expected to help create the most inclusive and safe space possible by honoring the Participant Guidelines.
We strive to host accessible events that maximize the opportunity of all individuals to participate and engage wholly in all spaces and activities, in full respect of cultural and linguistic identities, care needs, and abilities.
For inquiries about accessibility or accommodation requests, please get in touch with us. Feel free to email us or give us a call at +1-415-839-6456. We are happy to connect on any channel or in any fashion that feels most appropriate and comfortable for you.
We welcome suggestions and ideas for how we can create even more inclusive and accessible spaces at our Aspiration events. Share your thoughts with us.
We hope to see you there
Reach out to us if you want to connect or have any questions about attending.