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Member Affinity Groups are our most valuable resource and means of advancing the research and practice of capacity building.

Affinity Groups self-organize around a specified interest or identity with the primary purpose of innovating ideas, practices, models, research and/or publications. They also provide a space for Alliance members with similar interests to network with each other, exchange ideas, and develop their skills. 

To join an Affinity Group, log in to the Member Center.

Currently, we have Member Affinity Groups focused around: 

(Click on a link to jump to the Group's description and lead contacts.)

Capacity Building Organizations (CBO)

The purpose of the CBO Affinity Group is to advance the knowledge and practices of capacity building among nonprofit organizations whose missions aim to strengthen the nonprofit sector. This includes stand-alone organizations previously known as management support organizations, national or statewide organizations that provide capacity building for their association or federations, intermediary organizations and foundations and United Ways that provide capacity building services. 

Our work includes: exchanging best and next practices that advance the effectiveness of our work; identifying strategies and models that are sustainable; advocating for capacity building and related funding with philanthropy and government; and sharing breakthroughs in research or practices that advance the field. 

The group meets approximately six times per year through virtual meetings on key topics identified by members and which are generally informed by a member survey on current practices. The group also meets during the annual Alliance conference. 

Affinity Group Leaders: Keith Timko and Patty Oertel


The Coaching Affinity Group brings together experienced practitioners and capacity builders who provide executive, leadership, or organizational coaching to nonprofits in order to strengthen organizational and leadership capacity. The group grew out of a desire to create a community of experienced practitioners who can delve deeply into coaching best practices and advance our collective knowledge to support the needs of nonprofit leadership development and organizational effectiveness. It carefully maintains a climate of safety and authenticity, where participants can share their learning edge with each other and feel comfortable in a non-judging environment. To that end, members are called upon to occupy the role of both learner and contributor in this group. 

Affinity Group Leader: Justin Pollack

Executive Transition and Leadership Continuity (ETLC)

With more than 100 members, ETLC is a professional community of capacity-builders who focus on strengthening nonprofits by creating human resource solutions and developing human capital to lead the sector. Members include: executive search/transition consultants, interim executives, nonprofit turnaround consultants, executive coaches, researchers, succession planning specialists, talent pipeline and leadership development consultants, human resource professionals, and others who specialize in the nonprofit sector and see value in the network.

This Affinity Group sees its work as a pioneering and trail-blazing effort to develop methodologies, reinforce good practices and identify research needs that promote leadership continuity within nonprofit organizations by planning for positive leadership transitions, attracting and retaining outstanding professionals for the sector, developing future generations of leaders within the sector, and advocating for and teaching succession planning as fundamental to an organization’s capacity to benefit society.

Affinity Group Leaders: Mary Vradelis and Catherine Bradshaw


The Governance group provides a forum to forward creative thinking in the field of board governance and development, including the generation of new approaches and models for community-based organizations. Through sharing of new approaches, practices, and research among a diverse group of consultants, capacity building organizations, and researchers, this affinity group hopes to not only further the field, but also to increase the knowledge base, generative thinking, and consulting skills of its members.

Affinity Group Leader: Judy Freiwirth

People of Color

Formed in 2001, the POC group offers a forum for capacity builders of color to share experiences and work to expand the presence of people of color in the Alliance and in the field. They seek to catalyze change in the field, the nonprofit sector, and ultimately the larger society by accelerating peer learning, challenging business-as-usual, and generating ways and means to honor the journey of people of color in the Americas through capacity building practices.

The POC group is currently in the process of defining and advancing "cultural competency" in nonprofit capacity building— this effort has resulted in a book entitled Embracing Cultural Competency: A Roadmap for Capacity Builders, professional development activities, and peer exchanges.

Affinity Group Leader: Jose Dominguez

Coming Soon: Race & Equity, Consulting Practice Development and Young Professionals

These groups are being formed based on expressed member interest. If you are interested in launching another new group, please contact us or submit an idea in the Members: Idea Bos.