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Accelerating equity: the power of nonprofit support

Accelerating equity_ the power of nonprofit support - cover-min 

In the realm of philanthropy, the significance of capacity building in advancing racial equity is profound, yet often overlooked. As grantmakers and foundations strive to make a meaningful impact, it's essential to understand that investing in capacity building is not just a support function; it's a critical lever for change. Particularly for nonprofits working towards racial equity and inclusion, capacity building is a gateway to amplifying their impact in underserved and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. Capacity building is a powerful tool beyond racial equity grants, and Catchafire can be a critical resource to leverage for accelerating community impact.

The critical need for capacity building in racial equity work

Nonprofits dedicated to racial equity often operate in high-pressure environments where resources are scarce. They face unique challenges: complex issues, a high demand for their services, and the constant need to adapt to the evolving landscape of social and racial justice. Capacity building for these organizations goes beyond basic organizational needs. It encompasses developing strategic thinking, leadership skills, and technical capabilities, all tailored towards advancing communities with a racial equity lens.

Throughout philanthropy, there is racial inequity when examining the amount of funding towards different communities. While capacity building for racial equity  organizations is critical, many of these nonprofits are BIPOC-led and face funding gaps compared to White-led organizations.

A survey by the Nonprofit Finance Fund found a staggering discrepancy in funding and demand between BIPOC-led and White-led organizations:

  • 64% of BIPOC-led organizations have experienced a significant increase in demand over the last two years, compared to only 47% of White-led organizations.
  • 71% of White-led organizations received corporate donations compared to only 58% of BIPOC-led nonprofits.
  • 86% of White-led organizations received foundation money compared to 75% of Black-led organizations and 82% of BIPOC-led organizations.

The stark realities of racial disparities in philanthropy and chronic underfunding of BIPOC-led nonprofits demonstrate the urgent need for greater investment and support.

The investment in capacity building for these nonprofits is not just beneficial but necessary. By strengthening their core, these organizations become more effective, sustainable, and resilient. This, in turn, enables them to create deeper, more lasting impact in the communities they serve. For underserved and underinvested communities, where systemic barriers to equality persist, strong nonprofit organizations can be the catalysts for change.


Translating investment into community impact

Accelerating equity_ the power of nonprofit support - 1-min

When foundations and grantmakers invest in capacity building, they empower nonprofits to achieve greater scale and efficiency. This investment translates into real-world impact:

Enhanced organizational efficiency
Stronger organizations can manage resources more effectively, ensuring that maximum funds are directed towards program work rather than administrative tasks.

Increased impact
With improved capabilities, nonprofits can deliver their services more effectively, reaching more individuals and creating more substantial changes in their communities.

Sustainable change
Capacity building leads to sustainability. Organizations that are well-equipped are more likely to endure and continue their critical work over the long term.

This approach is particularly powerful in supporting a racial equity framework, where long-term, sustained effort is required to dismantle systemic barriers and create equitable outcomes.


Catchafire: A capacity building catalyst for racial equity

Catchafire stands at the forefront of this transformative process. As a capacity-building resource, Catchafire uniquely supports small, grassroots nonprofits, particularly those working to advance racial equity. At Catchafire, 61% of nonprofits on our platform have BIPOC leadership and 32% are exclusively Black-led. Catchafire provides a suite of resources aimed at supporting capacity building, professional development, and peer-to-peer learning for BIPOC-led nonprofits. 

Global network of volunteers
Catchafire's model is built on a global network of skilled volunteers who offer their expertise to nonprofits. This approach allows nonprofits with minimal staff and budgets to access a range of professional skills, from marketing to strategic planning, without the financial burden.

Focus on impactful projects
The platform facilitates critical project support, tailored to the specific needs of each nonprofit. This customized support ensures that nonprofits aren't just receiving assistance — they're receiving the right kind of assistance. This kind of programmatic support is crucial for small grassroots nonprofits, providing nonprofits with a pathway to grant readiness

Skills-based volunteering
Catchafire focuses on skills-based volunteering, which not only benefits the community but also helps in the professional development of employees. This leads to increased job satisfaction and employee retention.

Translating hours into impact
The time saved by collaborating with volunteers directly translates into staff being able to focus more on their mission and programs. For nonprofits, particularly those in racial equity work, this means more time spent on the ground, creating real change in the communities they serve.

Empowering underserved communities
By supporting these nonprofits, Catchafire plays a vital role in empowering underinvested and underserved communities. The platform’s impact extends beyond the nonprofits it serves; it reaches into the communities they impact, amplifying their work in promoting racial equity.

Nonprofit highlights

1. Black Women Rally for Action - Los Angeles County

Accelerating equity_ the power of nonprofit support - 2-min

Mission: Black Women Rally for Action - Los Angeles County is a coalition of diverse organizations and individuals dedicated to advancing the health, economic and social well-being of all Los Angeles County Black Women through direct action and advocacy.

With 133 volunteer hours donated and 15 projects supported in areas like marketing and graphic design, the organization has been able to focus on their mission and expanding their advocacy efforts.


“This will allow us to expand our reach into the younger demographic and we are looking to extend our reach to those who do not have access to the internet/social media. By extending our outreach, we will be able to provide education, encouragement, and community resources to those who may not have access to the information that we share.” 

Brenda W., Vice Chair


2. Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance

Accelerating equity_ the power of nonprofit support - 3-min

Mission: The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA) works to dismantle barriers to ensure people of all ethnic backgrounds have equal access and opportunity to participate fully in the life of the community. LEDA forms a bridge between organizations and individuals throughout our communities and across the region, helping to educate and engage all of us in moving forward a vision of racial equity.

With 58 hours donated towards 6 projects focused on improving their website, the organization can have a more polished brand and an updated website that effectively communicates their mission. These hours saved allow staff to focus on their DEI programming for the community.


“Catchafire volunteers have enabled us to provide a badly needed resource to our communities - a Minority Business Directory. People want to support BIPOC and women-owned businesses, but there was never a good source to find them.” 

Gloria L., Executive Director 


3. Asian Americans United

Accelerating equity_ the power of nonprofit support - 4-min

Mission: Founded in 1985, Asian Americans United's mission is to build leadership in Asian American communities to build our neighborhoods and unite against oppression. AAU has worked in Philadelphia's Asian American communities and in broader multiracial coalitions around quality education, youth leadership, anti-Asian violence, immigrant rights, and folk arts and cultural maintenance.

Volunteers on Catchafire have donated 72 hours towards providing support in marketing, IT, and website development. This frees up staff time, focusing instead on its civic engagement and advocacy work. 


“We have had a variety of help from Catchafire volunteers ranging from helping us design new curriculum for our youth programs to building a whole new website our organization really needed.  The outcomes of these will have years of impact.”

Alix W., Executive Director


Partner with Catchafire

The path to achieving racial equity in philanthropy is complex and requires a multifaceted approach. Capacity building is a crucial part of this journey. As grantmakers and foundations, your investment in capacity building can significantly magnify the impact of nonprofits working in this field. By supporting platforms like Catchafire, you're not just funding a service; you're enabling a movement. You're contributing to a stronger, more effective network of nonprofits capable of driving meaningful change in racial equity, especially in communities that need it most.

Investing in nonprofit capacity building, especially through platforms like Catchafire, is an investment in the future of racial equity. It's a step towards a world where the potential of every community, particularly those historically underserved and underinvested, is recognized and realized. 

Request a demo today to learn more about partnering with Catchafire. 


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