A Capacity Building Service Guide

Rochester Youth Year AmeriCorps VISTA members engage in capacity-building service: tasks and activities that enhance or expand the scale, reach, and/or effectiveness of a program or organization. VISTA members are short-term resources to help organizations develop long-term, sustainable solution to poverty.

Common capacity-building activities that a VISTA member might engage in are fundraising, partnership development, community outreach, donor stewardship, etc. Below, is a list of some capacity-building activities and similar direct service activities to demonstrate the large range of capacity-building activities that an RYY member might engage in and how they might be supplemented by direct service activities from other individuals — please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive!

Here are some examples of capacity-building service activities that are appropriate for RYY members:

  • Writing grants to fund the construction of affordable housing units
  • Organizing a fundraiser to help establish a new community garden
  • Planning an event to educate community members about protecting the environment
  • Creating the curriculum for a financial education workshop and training facilitators to run it

Now, here are some examples of direct service activities that are inappropriate for RYY members:

  • Building new affordable housing units
  • Growing produce in a community garden
  • Giving a presentation about environmental protection to community members
  • Leading a financial education workshop for community members


*There are direct service opportunities for VISTA members to engage in, such as national days of service or external community events!

*VISTA members should not be responsible for completing core administrative tasks for their host organizations! (e.g. reception duties, office supply ordering, compliance monitoring, etc.)