Hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed are working to protect and restore the Bay and its rivers and streams. Among these organizations, there is a wide array of capacities. By “capacity,” we mean the ability of an organization to fulfill its mission. Does it have access to the tools, technical expertise, systems, resources, and relationships to deliver its work most effectively?

With the 2025 deadline looming to have all pollution reduction practices in place as part of the Bay’s restoration effort, funders want to understand the needs and capacity gaps within the clean water nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay watershed. Strategically identifying these needs and gaps will help funders take our work for clean water to the next level. But how are we going to do this?

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Choose Clean Water Coalition, in collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, are conducting an assessment to establish a baseline understanding of the capacity of nonprofit organizations working to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. The first part of this assessment is a comprehensive survey

This is a great opportunity to tell funders, loud and clear, “This is where we need help!”

Who at your organization should take this survey? The short answer: everyone! We are intentionally seeking a wide array of feedback–from program staff, to organization leadership, to Board members. These varied perspectives will help us paint a clear picture of the overall capacity needs in our community. All answers are confidential and we will only review the results in aggregate. 

The survey will address an organization’s capacity in the areas of stormwater management, agricultural practices, and habitat restoration. It will also address an organization’s capacity to deliver its programs effectively, adapt to change, and engage with surrounding communities.

But we can’t do it without you. Widespread completion of the survey is crucial to understanding the needs and capacity gaps of our community. Stay tuned for your inbox this Wednesday, October 20, and send any questions or comments to the Jenny McGarvey at