The primary research objective was to replicate two recent studies on nonprofit capacity building – a Pittsburgh-based study and a study focused in Central-Texas. Both, Millesen and Bies’ 2004 report for the Forbes Funds, An Analysis of the Pittsburgh Region’s Capacity-Building ‘Industry' (hereinafter referred to as the Pittsburgh study) and Bies and Rehnborg’s 2005 Report for United Way Capital Area and the Texas Nonprofit Management Assistance Program, An Analysis of the Nonprofit and Volunteer Capacity-Building Industries in Central Texas (hereinafter referred to as the Texas study), were significant to the study’s research design.
In line with the two previous reports, thecore research purpose was to describe and analyze the quantity and quality of capacity-building services provided to nonprofit organizations within Minnesota. The Pittsburgh and Texas studies provided a template for the “multi-method research process, designed to capture both the diversity of the sector and the continuum of capacity-building services offered to nonprofit organizations” (Millesen & Bies, 2004, I). The research, however, diverged from the prior studies in some areas. The Texas replication added to the area of study set forth from Pittsburgh by conducting a specific examination of volunteer management capacity and disaster response in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In this study we address nonprofit advocacy and public policy capacity in addition to capacity-building issues covered in our foundational research questions.