Neighborhood Transformation
Neighborhood Transformation

Nonprofit Developers
Components of Effective Developmental Capacity

1.  Ability to plan effectively.   Strong nonprofit developers have a good handle on community assets and needs and develop a vision for what revitalization activities fit the neighborhood dynamic. Community planning should include opportunities for the nonprofit developer to gather input from the residents and neighborhood businesses and build those stakeholders into the vision-setting process. A nonprofit developer must plan internally also, matching its own assets, programs, partnerships, and skills with its vision for the neighborhood.

2.   Ability to secure resources.   Nonprofit developers need a great deal of external support - including grants, loans, contracts, and technical help to accomplish their objectives. A capable nonprofit developer can assemble adequate resources from a variety of places, including the "profits" of the projects it develops. Its funding base should be relatively stable, without wide annual fluctuations.

3.   Strong internal management and governance.   Nonprofit developers must be able to manage their resources effectively and account for funds and programs. As some of the recent troubles at several large, older nonprofit developers attest, an ability to develop projects does not automatically translate into capable management of internal operations. nonprofit developers need internal systems that reflect sound business principles of accountability and can support multiple nonprofit developer programs. nonprofit developer boards must represent their communities, govern competently, and interact well with staff.

4.   Program delivery capacity.   A nonprofit developer must develop programs effectively, including the planning, packaging, development, marketing, and ongoing management of its assets. nonprofit developers should be able to estimate program outcomes reliably and meet those expectations. Increasingly, nonprofit developer programs include the "softer" human service components in addition to physical development.

5.  Ability to network with other entities.   To carry out its multiple roles, a nonprofit developer must be able to find and work well with other organizations. A capable nonprofit developer can interact with a variety of public and private entities to accomplish revitalization goals. Potential nonprofit developer partners range from local and state governments and private sector funders to technical assistance providers, other neighborhood organizations, private developers, and human service deliverers. Also important, nonprofit developers must maintain sound relations with neighborhood residents and businesses, whose involvement and support of community revitalization is necessary, and who are often touched by a nonprofit developer's outreach and organizing work.