Cheap or free trainings this fall, from diversity to data


What webinars are on your calendar this fall? Leave a comment to let us know. (Photo: Mark Hillary, Flickr/Creative Commons)

Need professional development, but don’t have a budget for travel or tuition? Here’s a roundup of some free or relatively affordable trainings I’ve spotted recently – ones you can join from the comfort of your own desk or couch.

Deepen your storytelling skills

When: October 5, 3:00-4:00pm EST/12:00-1:00pm PST

What: Craigslist Foundation will host a “campfire conversation” conference call with Joe Lambert, founder and director of the Center for Digital Storytelling. It’s free for Craigslist Boot Camp participants and $5 for others.

More info and RSVP:

Use data to drive your decisions

When: October 6, 1:00-2:30pm EST/10:00-11:30am PST

Guidestar will host a free webinar on The Seven Steps for Data-Driven Decision Making with Sacha Litman, founder and principal consultant of Measuring Success. It’s free.

More info and RSVP: click here.

Working in study abroad or intercultural communication

Small Planet Studio recently tweeted about several upcoming trainings for people who want to work in international education, intercultural training, or consulting. Explore their menu of offerings here.

Volunteer management, social media, online donations, diversity, and more…

The folks at Idealware have a range of offerings this fall, from $40 trainings on how to choose donor and volunteer management systems to free eLearning sessions on Facebook, Twitter, and the “technology pyramid.” Explore the options at

And of course there’s always NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network. In October alone, they’re hosting a dozen events ranging from Diversifying Your Office Culture to Beyond Apps: Mobile for Nonprofits. Prices vary, and it helps if your organization has an NTEN membership. Read more at

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New tool for philanthropy and volunteerism

This week Johnson&Johnson launched a new tool for philanthropy and volunteerism called &you. From their site:

&you™ is a unique new digital tool for social good that takes volunteer and job opportunities, ways to donate, events and news, and brings them together in one place. So if you’re an individual, you’ll spend less time searching for the right opportunity to help, and more time making it happen. And if you’re a nonprofit, &you amplifies your outreach to volunteers, donors and other supporters.

How? If you run a nonprofit, &you shows your supporters every opportunity you’ve listed with VolunteerMatch, Network for Good, and Idealist, all in one place, in an automatically updated, customizable tool (a widget) that can be easily placed on your website, blog or Facebook page.

And if you’re an individual and you want to add the widget (a small box) to your website, blog, or Facebook page, you’d start out by selecting your favorite causes and organizations to support. The widget will automatically refresh as new jobs, volunteer opportunities, events, and other updates that match your interests are posted on VolunteerMatch, GuideStar, Network for Good, DoSomething, and Idealist.

In both cases you can customize the color and headline of the widget so that it reflects your own site and personality.

Visit to learn more, create your widget, and let your good work grow. You can also stay up to date with &you at and on Twitter @andyou.

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New GuideStar Report: The Effect of The Economy on the Nonprofit Sector

Almost everyone has felt the effects of the less than stellar economic performance in the first half of this year. This is no less true for the majority of nonprofit organizations as seen in GuideStar’s report on The Effect of The Economy on the Nonprofit Sector for the first half of 2010 released last week.

Nonprofit organizations have been particularly affected this year on two fronts. With unemployment rates barely moving and the number of people coming off of jobless benefits rising, folks have increasingly turned to local community organizations to help fill the gap in services that they can no longer afford. Sixty-three percent of surveyed organizations reported an increase in demand for their services between January 1, 2010 and May 31, 2010. At the same time, more than 40% of organizations reported a decrease in donations and other funding streams. The strain on nonprofits has been so high that 17% of organizations had to cut programs and services and 8% said they were in imminent danger of closing.

From flickr user jasoon (Creative Commons)

If you’ve been considering donating to an organization whose work you support, you might want to consider donating now. You can find financial information on the nonprofit of your choice at

If you’re worried about the nonprofits in your community but not currently in a position to donate, there are other ways to help. About a third of organizations reported that they have increased their reliance on volunteers as a way to support their programmatic work and not cut services. You can search for a local volunteer opportunity here — and remember, volunteering is a great asset in career development if you find yourself temporarily out of work.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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