STEP 2: Capacity Building

Step 2

Capacity includes all the human, technical, organizational, and financial resources you will need in order to implement and evaluate your intervention in a culturally competent and sustainable way. Your capacity affects how (and how effectively) your group goes about every aspect of its work. Your capacity needs may change as work progresses, goals are accomplished, and priorities shift or expand. It is important to continually examine your capacity and make sure you have the resources required at each stage of your prevention efforts.

Building capacity involves improving your group’s ability to prevent and/or reduce opioid misuse in your community.

Key components of capacity building include:

  • Increasing the availability of fiscal, human, organizational, and other resources
  • Raising awareness of the opioid misuse problem and the readiness of stakeholders to address the issue
  • Strengthening relationships with partners
  • Identifying and fostering new opportunities for collaboration

Capacity building comprises four primary tasks:

STEP 2: Capacity Building comprises the following primary tasks:

TASK 1: Build Capacity Through Organizational Development

Part of capacity building is paying attention to the organizational infrastructure needed to plan, implement, evaluate, and sustain your intervention. Five factors are key to both organizational infrastructure development and sustainability:29

 - Creating and strengthening administrative structures and formal linkages among all organizations and systems involved
 - Encouraging champion and leadership roles across organizations and systems, and making sure that these roles are distributed across different ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and other community subpopulations
 - Ensuring that adequate funding, staffing, technical assistance, and materials will be in place when needed
 - Developing administrative policies and procedures that support your prevention strategies and send a clear message about the desirability of and expectations for sustaining efforts
 - Building and maintaining community and practitioner expertise in several areas, for example:
          - Effective prevention programs
          - Needs assessment
          - Logic model construction
          - Selection and implementation of evidence-based programs
          - Fidelity and adaptation
          - Evaluation
          - Cultural competence

TASK 2: Build Capacity Throughout the SPF

Different elements of capacity become more important during different points in the SPF cycle. For example:

  • During Step 1, your group may need to assess its cultural competence and build its capacity to integrate or infuse cultural competence into the assessment process so that participants experience a safe and supportive environment
  • During Step 3, you may need to focus on learning how to implement an inclusive and collaborative strategic planning process

At each step of the SPF, it is important to document and track your required assets and needs. This information will help you develop a concrete plan for building your group’s capacity and tracking the implementation of your efforts.

For example, after completing the assessment of needs, readiness, and resources in Step 1, your group might do the following:

  • Review the quantitative and qualitative data you collected
  • Identify the assets and resources available for preventing and reducing opioid misuse in your target area
  • Identify capacity needs
  • If necessary, conduct additional assessments to further define your capacity needs
  • Develop a capacity-building plan to address each identified need, building on all of your assets and resources
TASK 3: Increase Capacity Through Cultural Competence

To increase the cultural competence of your organization or coalition, you must consider whether your current practices and your written guidelines or policies reflect a culturally competent perspective.

Here are some questions for assessing your coalition’s capacity—its strengths, weaknesses, and needs—in this area:30

  • Membership: How well does your group reflect the communities you serve? Should you add members? Should you work to forge partnerships with organizations that have stronger capacity for working with particular groups?
  • Resources: Do your members or partners need additional training or resources in order to serve all parts of your community equitably? For example, do you need to build capacity to translate program materials into another language?
  • Barriers: What is getting in your group’s way as you work to connect with and serve diverse communities? Avoid rehashing past mistakes, but don’t shy away from looking at problems that exist, and be willing to change.
  • Leadership: Has your group publicly endorsed cultural competence and inclusivity? Does it need more leadership in this area, perhaps from a partner with more expertise?
TASK 4: Complete the Capacity-Building Worksheet

This tool can help you identify issues or areas of needed growth, how these capacity needs will be addressed, the person(s) responsible, the timeline for addressing each capacity need, and the measure of success (how you will know the need has been met).

Complete a Capacity-Building Worksheet for each capacity need you identify as you carry out each step in the SPF model. Remember to keep in mind any capacity needs your group may have related to cultural competence and sustainability.

Below is an example of a completed worksheet addressing a capacity need related to Step 1 of the SPF.

Sample Capacity-Building Worksheet for Step 1 of the SPF


SPF Step 1: Assessment


Issue/Area of



We need to have a representative from Prevention, Inc., participate in the needs assessment process, since this group works with one of the populations at risk for opioid misuse in our community and could give us important input.


How the Capacity Need Will Be Addressed:


We will meet with Betty Leader, the director of Prevention, Inc., to discuss the project and identify how Prevention, Inc., might participate. Betty Leader and/or other staff will also be invited to future project meetings.


Person(s) Responsible:


Jane Smith will contact Betty to set up a meeting. Other members who will attend include J. Jones and A. Black from our group, both of whom already work with Jane on other projects. A technical assistance provider from MassTAPP will also attend.




Jane will contact Betty by July 9 and schedule the meeting for the week of July 14.


Measure of



Betty or another representative from Prevention, Inc., becomes an active participant in our needs assessment process.