The Organizational Effectiveness Knowledge Center: It’s Waiting There for You

In 1983, in the days when Toto’s Africa topped the pop charts and Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage, Dave Packard began the Management Assistance program at the Packard Foundation. Its name has changed – it is now known as Organizational Effectiveness, or OE – but unlike our collective taste in music and toys, the mission remains unchanged. (Truth be told, this child of the 80s still loves that song, though I never did understand my little sister’s love for the Cabbage Patch Kids…) The OE team still seeks to increase the effectiveness of the nonprofit organizations and networks that are funded by the Foundation. We do this by making grants that strengthen infrastructure, enhancing the organization’s ability to meet the goals they share with the Foundation.

As we go about our work supporting our nonprofit partners, we encounter a wealth of useful resources and learning on capacity building – and we believe that there is no reason for us to keep that to ourselves.  

Enter the Organizational Effectiveness Knowledge Center. The Knowledge Center is the Packard Foundation’s new space to share and exchange learning, resources, and reflections about improving nonprofit organizational and network effectiveness. It is full of general resources and tools on specific topics on nonprofit organizational development and capacity building. Current topics include: board development, business and strategic planning, communications, cultural competency, DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and cultural competency, evaluation, financial systems, finding and working with consultants, fund development, leadership and coaching, networks and collaboration, organizational and network assessment, security, succession planning and executive search, technology and social media, and using a systems approach.

Here are some examples of resources we’ve recently added:

  • A list of capacity building consultant databases compiled by the Foundation Center
  • A Systems Grantmaking Resource guide. OE supported the development of this new resource guide and web site about Systems Grantmaking. Though the guide was written for funders, it is also helpful for any nonprofit engaged in the thorny work of systems change. If you’d like to learn more, try taking the guide’s Systems Change Self-Assessment, exclusively designed for social-sector organizations.
  • The Emerging Leader’s Playbook, a resource for emerging leaders in nonprofit organizations. The playbook is organized into three sections–Leading Self, Leading Others, and Preparing Your Organization–and each section is full of tips, tools, and resources.

Come, take a look and see what strikes you. If you have a capacity building resource you love, let the rest of us know by providing a comment on it and if it is not there, use the suggest a resource feature and we’ll look at adding it in.

Go ahead, click on over. Though it may not contain much in “long forgotten words or ancient mel-o-dies,” still, we’ll turn to you and then we’ll say: Hurry, ‘cause it’s waiting there for you!

(With apologies to Toto and any other Africa fans out there)

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