“Capacity-building” refers to work that increases the expected value of a significant amount of additional work that people will do in the future.
Examples of capacity-building include learning to code, developing productivity-increasing technology, and convincing others to take an interest in important problems.
As these examples imply, a person may build their own capacity to do good, others’ capacities to do good, or both. A person can also build capacity while engaged in work that has a positive impact in itself. For instance, many high-impact jobs also lead their workers to develop transferable skills.
Some kinds of capacity-building that are of particular interest include work that builds career capital, work that increases personal effectiveness, work that increases the accuracy of beliefs, and work that grows the effective altruism movement.