What Is Capacity Building?

Define capacity building and contrast it to direct service.  Click "The Foundation of VISTA Service" below to begin.

The Foundation of VISTA Service

VISTA at whiteboard

Types of Service

VISTA members engage in capacity building. How is that different from direct service?

Click each term to find out:


Direct Service or Capacity Building?

Decide which activities in the list below are direct service and which build capacity.

Drag the phrases to the appropriate categories and then click Submit.

PDFAccessible Format PDF


When to Provide Direct Service

Although your goal as a VISTA is to build the capacity of your organization, at times direct service may be part of your assignment. The following example shows when you might be asked to do direct service.

Click the photo to hear about Michelle's direct service.


Benefits of Direct Service

Look at the list of benefits Michelle got from doing direct service. Select those that also helped her to build the capacity of the program and then click Submit.



VISTA leading meetingCongratulations! You have finished this tutorial.

Capacity building is the foundation of VISTA service. As a VISTA, it's important to recognize the difference between capacity building and direct service.

If you have you been asked to do direct service, how will this service help you build the capacity of your organization?

Your goal as a VISTA is to leave a lasting impact on the organizations and communities served.