Thinking Differently: Adaptive Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector

Calgary’s nonprofit sector is at a crossroads. It operates in a complex and rapidly changing environment, where maintaining the status quo is not an option if thriving is the goal. New capacities will need to be developed to respond effectively to the challenges that lie before us.

The starting point for Thinking Differently: Adaptive Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector explored three important questions:

  • What is the present state of local capacity building needs and offerings?
  • What major political, economic, social, and technological (PEST) trends are likely to impact Calgary in the next five years?
  • How will these trends shape local capacity building during this time?

Throughout the research, we considered the roles of funders, capacity builders, and nonprofits in building a resilient sector.

Thinking Differently: Adaptive Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector invites individuals, organizations, and the nonprofit sector as a whole into dialogue and action towards a sector-level approach to capacity building.

We want to help start the conversation with your leadership team and work together to build a more resilient sector. To explore what adaptive capacity building might look like in your organization, contact our team at


Report Highlights






Adaptive capacity means connecting and collaborating, innovating, and advocating. As the sector builds its adaptive capacity, we need to think differently about the sector, about capacity building, about technology and data, and about the relationships between funders, capacity builders, and nonprofit organizations. Let’s also talk about:

  • Partnering to create a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for capacity building.
  • Increasing the investment in functional and adaptive capacity building.
  • Developing, promoting, and maintaining a digital community for capacity building.
  • Gathering, sharing, and integrating PEST trend information.
  • Building a culture of innovation in the sector.


While this report represents the culmination of many months of effort and reflects the voices of many from across the sector, our work as an organization, and as a sector, has just begun. Here at CCVO we are already looking at ways to bring our own work into greater alignment with the direction provided by the report. In the coming months, we look forward to joining with organizations from across the sector to keep the conversations alive and keep moving this work forward.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This