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Building capacity for education nonprofits

Capacity growth in nonprofits bridges education gaps - cover-min 

When we examine the social factors that influence the health and wellness of our communities, education stands out as a key component. Grantmakers focusing on health and education play a pivotal role here, and tools like Catchafire can help grantmakers scale their investments and accelerate community outcomes.             

Education as a social determinant of health

The influence of education on health is profound. Education systems lay the foundation for a person's physical, mental, and social health, setting the stage for future employment opportunities, income potential, and quality of life. Studies consistently show that higher educational attainment correlates with better health outcomes. By addressing educational disparities, we can make significant strides towards closing health gaps in our communities.
For grantmakers, understanding the impact of education on health is essential. Investment in education is, therefore, not just a contribution to learning but a strategic intervention in community health. By supporting educational initiatives, grantmakers have the opportunity to foster healthier, more resilient communities.

The role of education nonprofits in community support

Capacity growth in nonprofits bridges education gaps - 1-min

Education nonprofits serve as crucial conduits in delivering quality education, especially in underserved and underinvested communities. These organizations often work on the ground, identifying and addressing the unique needs of their communities. They provide essential programming – from after-school tutoring and mentoring to scholarships and career readiness workshops. These initiatives go beyond academic achievement; they build confidence, encourage critical thinking, and foster a sense of belonging among learners.

Positive outcomes from these programs ripple through communities. Improved education access leads to higher graduation rates, better job prospects, and, ultimately, stronger, healthier communities. However, the efficacy of these nonprofits is closely tied to their capacity to operate effectively.


Importance of capacity building for education nonprofits

Capacity building refers to enhancing an organization's ability to achieve its mission effectively and sustainably. For education nonprofits, this means having the necessary tools, skills, and resources to effectively deliver and scale their programs.

However, capacity challenges are prevalent in the nonprofit sector. Limited resources often mean that these organizations operate with constrained budgets, overextended staff, and insufficient infrastructure. This is where grantmakers can make a transformative difference by providing capacity support. Investing in capacity building is investing in the long-term efficacy and resilience of these organizations.

How Catchafire supports nonprofits and education outcomes

Catchafire addresses a critical aspect of capacity building: connecting nonprofits with professional expertise. Catchafire allows nonprofits to access a global network of skilled volunteers who offer their expertise in areas such as marketing, web development, human resources, and strategy consulting. This model of support helps education nonprofits bridge resource gaps without overstretching their budgets or sacrificing staff time.

For grantmakers, partnering with Catchafire means empowering nonprofits to focus more on their mission and less on operational challenges. It’s an innovative way to extend the impact of their grants. By facilitating these connections, Catchafire enables education nonprofits to enhance their programs, reach more beneficiaries, and support better education outcomes.

1. More Than Bootstraps

Capacity growth in nonprofits bridges education gaps - 2-min

Mission: More Than Bootstraps builds a community of first-generation, underrepresented students who empower each other to access and succeed in higher education. The organization trains leaders (current college students) to mentor their younger peers with the college search, college application, and financial aid process. Leaders also address questions and concerns about college-going and help their peers and families know what to expect and how best to prepare for the challenges of higher education.

Over the last four years, volunteers on Catchafire have donated 1,683 hours in areas like fundraising, public relations, and graphic design. This has allowed staff to redirect their focus towards supporting more high school students, training college student leaders, and improving college enrollment rates.


“We are a new organization founded mainly by educators frustrated by the ways in which first-generation, low-income students are not succeeding in higher education. Catchafire has enabled us to complement our skills in education with the many skills of the volunteers –– from graphic design and videography to non-profit coaching and grant-writing. We are a stronger organization as a result and better able to serve the students in our program. I couldn't be more grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and to Catchafire."

Audrey F., President


2. New Jersey Minority Educational Development (NJ MED)

Capacity growth in nonprofits bridges education gaps - 3-min

Mission: New Jersey Minority Educational Development provides technical support to local, national, and international educational organizations through market research and innovative programming design services from early childhood to post-secondary education. 

They are developing the World Top 20 Project, an international project aimed to serve and protect children around the world by ensuring they have access to quality education in a safe and nurturing environment through community outreach, organizational and institutional partnership, and program development.

With support from volunteers on Catchafire, NJ MED has saved 2,387 hours, redirecting its focus towards expanding education services and support for more children around the world. 


“We are an all volunteer organization that relies on volunteers to help us provide services for at-risk youths and their families around the world. Without Catchafire, our organization would be at least five years behind in our international World Top 20 Project.” 

Albert M., CEO and Founder


3. The Morpho Institute

Capacity growth in nonprofits bridges education gaps - 4-min

Mission: The Morpho Institute supports the key role of K-12 education in realizing the global goal of environmental conservation and sustainability. To achieve this goal, The Morpho Institute provides professional development programs and curriculum resources which support local to global environmental stewardship in K-12 instruction.

The Morpho Institute is a small organization started by former teachers wanting to increase K-12 students' awareness about environmental conservation and sustainability in the Amazon. With 949 hours donated by volunteers on Catchafire, the organization has received support towards building out their fundraising, business plan, and social media to create more scholarships for students. 


“We’ve had an absolutely stellar experience with Catchafire! The professional help we have received from volunteers have helped us nail down our operating budget, manage Google Analytics and Facebook Ads, create effective donor appeal letters, and dig into the nitty gritty of operating budgets. Not only has this saved us thousands of dollars, it has saved us valuable time!”

Christa D., Program Director


Partner with Catchafire

As a grantmaker, your commitment to health and education is already making a difference. By partnering with Catchafire, you have the opportunity to amplify this impact. Catchafire offers a pathway to support education nonprofits year-round, helping them build the capacity they need to serve their communities effectively.

This collaboration can be a game-changer, particularly in underserved communities and those serving BIPOC populations, where educational disparities are often most pronounced. By investing in capacity support, you are investing in the long-term health and prosperity of these communities.

Request a demo today to learn more about partnering with Catchafire. Together, we can bridge education gaps and create a healthier, more equitable future.


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