Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit.  When capacity building is successful, it strengthens a nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission over time, thereby enhancing its ability to have a positive impact on lives and communities.

Recognizing the significant role nonprofits play in contributing to the overall quality of life, several organizations have teamed up to create a program, called Achieving Capacity Together in Northwest Arkansas or ACTNWA. The goal of ACTNWA is to support nonprofits seeking to accelerate the development of their capacity to serve the community. For the latest press release, click HERE.




Through ACTNWA, nonprofit organizations will have the opportunity to strengthen capabilities to create a more robust and relevant organization in an environment of continual change.  Working with peers, they will learn new tools that can be applied to the opportunities and challenges in the workplace, and they will build mutually beneficial relationships with other nonprofit leaders.

Remarks from the 2017 ACT I Cohort:

“ACTNWA has given us the resources to develop a plan, knowledge to know whether the plan is working, and has empowered us with confidence to make changes when needed.”

 “While our agency has gained morsels of knowledge and insight from each and every session, our most important takeaway is our new bank of resources – the information and ideas we have gathered from the collective body of sessions…ACTNWA has been an absolute gift to supporting and growing our nonprofit.”

 “When we first started attending the ACT cohort, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Now we are leaving better equipped to sustain what we are passionate about.”


The next application cycle (ACT II) is available to small and medium-sized nonprofits, defined as organizations between $200,000 and $3 million in operating income, excluding in-kind donations and extraordinary income.

The focus of the 2018 ACT II Cohort will be on serving the “working poor.” The “working poor” are defined as individuals or head of households that have been in the labor force at least 27 weeks and have a household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). ACTNWA recognizes the importance of mixed-income programs, so has not set a specific requirement for how many people with incomes below 200% FPL must be served for the nonprofit organization to be eligible.

Up to 10 organizations will be selected to participate through a competitive application process.


The yearlong program, which runs September thru August, consists of three primary components:

  • Pre-/post assessment utilizing the Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT) developed by McKinsey & Company
  • Nine knowledge building sessions that occur monthly between October and June. The sessions are between four to six hours in length, depending upon the topics covered that month.  Each session will be comprised of lecture, exercises and peer-learning opportunities. 
  • 15 hours of organizational coaching with an experienced capacity building coach