TU Capacity

Capacity = the ability to achieve the TU Mission.

Non-profit capacity probably has as many definitions as the number of non-profits in existence. The multitude of definitions often use language riddled with jargon and “hidden” subtext prone to creating misunderstanding and confusion. At its most basic level, however, capacity is the “ability to do something.” The most important something we do in TU is achieve our mission; our ability is determined by the means or skills we possess. Attempts to increase TU capacity can easily become overwhelming due to the broad scope of things we do and range of our means and skills. Categorizing everything within this scope and range into one of five components of the TU Capacity Reel makes the task of increasing capacity much easier. Focusing on one specific component that directly affects TU capacity enables easy identification of viable paths to improve means or skills. Applying improvements in one component area to others through communications multiplies the direct effect on our ability to increase capacity due to the inter-connected and contributory nature of all TU capacity components.

Within TU, five components have been identified that contribute to our capacity.  They are all included in the Capacity Reel.  Not only is it important to develop (i.e., increase) each of them separately, but their relationship to and impact upon each other make it  important to increase them as an entire group to increase the overall TU capacity.

As individual components, however, the question of what aspects of each component need to be improved (i.e., increased) to affect change in our capacity remains.  Aspects that we have identified so far are as follows:

Grassroots Operations

  • Enhance leadership skills for increased leader effectiveness
  • Increase accountability for leader responsibilities
  • Increase clarity of leadership roles and expectations
  • Enhance staff support across more chapters and councils
  • Stronger succession planning
  • Enhance collaborative internal culture
  • Increase number of “How to…” trainings (e.g., How to motivate, delegate, facilitate,, etc.)


  • Improve clarity of Protect, Reconnect, Restore, Sustain definitions to improve progress reporting
  • Increase the quantity of work through direct correlation to development success
  • Increase expertise to remove limitations on quantity and scope
  • Create teams (e.g., Home Rivers Initiatives) implementing watershed-scale projects

Business Operations

  • Improve financial literacy through trainings
  • Increase effectiveness of expense management
  • Efficient use of resources


  • Increase training in best practices
  • Diversify revenue streams (e.g., donors, events, corporate sponsors, legacy gifts, etc.)
  • Increase cohesiveness of org-wide revenue capture plan


  • Improve and enhance internal and external communications
  • Improve consistency of messaging to donors, TU leaders, TU membership, general public, NGOs, etc.
  • Maximize marketing effectiveness
  • Clarify TU branding
  • Increase name recognition
  • Improve identification and capture of target demographic(s)

To learn how you might improve the various components of your council’s or chapter’s capacity, as well improve your personal leadership skills, click on the different components of the TU Capacity Reel or in the text above to delve deeper and begin improving your capacity today!

We’ve included a small percentage of the myriad tools and learning opportunities that exist.  Obviously, don’t forget about the TU website’s Leaders Only Section and Tackle Box.  This site is a companion to, rather than a replacement for, the resources you can find there. For more check out some of these websites…

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