Institutional development is a complex process touching on values, mission, program, and intended goals. Contained in its definition are four important concepts:
Process- Institutional development is not static, it is organic and evolving. It affects all facets of an organization and it implies learning, adaptation, and change.
Capacity- Institutional development involves human resources as well as organizational structure and systems. Both need to be strengthened in concert.
Sustainability- The aim of institutional development is an organization that can sustain the flow of valued benefits and services to its members or clients over time.
Impact- Institutional development is not a goal. It is a means to solve problems, create a more favorable economic or policy environment, and improve the quality’ of people’s lives.
Framework for Institutional Development
Institutional development is a dynamic process of becoming a learning organization capable of influencing and adapting to a continually changing environment. It is a two-way street, strengthening both partner organizations, it leads to financial, material and human resource autonomy and self-reliance. Institutional development is a complex concept because the life of an organization is a complex process. A framework that expresses the fundamental ideas and concepts and permits an analysis of the principal elements involved is a useful approach to addressing the complexity.
Vision-Vision is the ability to think creatively and critically about the organization. Vision is guided and formed by basic principles and beliefs that define the mission and purpose of an organization. It articulates a picture of the world that would result from the successful achievement of an organization’s goals It is important that vision grow out of, and respond to, locally defined needs.
Finally, it should reflect the social and moral principles, and contain principles of cost-consciousness, sustainability, auto financing of credit, growth, and expansion.
Capacity- Capacity is the ability to move thinking to action. It is the institution’s ability to organize itself to achieve its mission effectively and efficiently. Capacity requires a structure through which people can channel their energy and creativity, which anchors the organization in the mold of the vision, supports the organizations activities, is responsive to program and client needs, ensures that decisions get made at appropriate levels, and engenders appropriate forms of participation.
Systems and procedures that ensure that the structure operates smoothly, that there is a timely flow of accurate information and that staff and clients are treated fairly. A staff with the skills and motivation to implement the programs and manipulate the systems to achieve the objectives of the organization, a methodology that is an organized set of tactical steps that allows the organization to carry out its mission.
Resource capability- Resource capability is the ability to earn or raise sufficient funds to cover expenses without compromising vision or program design. An organization operating efficiently has achieved an assured flow of money that matches client demand and operational need. In addition to acquiring funds, organizations must be able to do financial planning and management and ensure accountability. Key factors include fund-raising policies and practices, credit policies budgeting and accounting systems1 financial projection and cash flow analysis, and portfolio management.
Linkage- Linkage is the ability to develop productive relationships with t wide variety of organizations. Linkage includes regular communication, interaction, and exchange of information and resources. To he an effective implementer of its activities, an organization must be perceived by the community in which it works, and by external entities, as carrying out activities that meet community needs in socially and culturally appropriate ways. Additionally, it must be seen as contributing to the overall improvement of the community. This legitimacy strengthens an organization and further supports the accomplishment of its mission.
Each component of the framework represents a distinctive organizational ability and involves an integral set of roles, policies, procedures, and tasks that need to be accomplished in systematic ways. The nature of the issues faced in each component and their importance and impact on the organization change over time and thus require constant attention. Failure to appropriately address any of these issues has the potential to seriously weaken an organization and reduce its ability to serve its client population.