Take professional development into your own hands

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How will you carve out time to learn and reflect? Photo: US Army (Flickr/Creative Commons)

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

Special thanks to Ben Hastil for his contributions to this roundup.

Telling your organization’s story

Show me the money

  • Grantseeking basics, fundraising planning, nonprofit sustainability…find trainings in these topics and more at your nearest Foundation Center.

Social media

  • Social Media for Social Good events: Heather Mansfield of DIOSA Communications and Nonprofit Tech 2.0 has lined up one-day intensive social media trainings in conjunction with the launch of her book. They aren’t free, but they do benefit local nonprofits in the host cities.

Become a better manager

  • The Management Center’s upcoming “Managing to Change the World” trainings are sold out, but you can access tons of free worksheets to strengthen your delegation skills, hiring practices, organizational culture, and more.
Dig out of debt
  • This might fit better under “personal” than “professional” development, but hey – lots of us have loans to pay, and I’d bet that those take a toll on our overall morale, and thus our work performance. If your new year’s resolution was to conquer your student loans, check out Heather Jarvis and her resources for Public Service Loan Forgiveness in Five Easy Steps.
What else is on your radar?
Of course, attending conferences or more intensive trainings and retreats can also be a way to deepen your skills and knowledge. And after you take advantage of any opportunities like these, it’s important to make space to reflect on how you’ll implement your new skills, as New Organizing Institute pointed out recently.
What do you plan to do in 2012 to ensure you are growing as a professional?

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Comments (6)


  1. Jereme writes:
    January 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Appreciate the Foundation Center shout-out! Thanks, Julia! :)

    If you’re interested in learning more about why training matters, check out our new white paper, “The Importance of Training in Fundraising Effectiveness” (free download): http://bit.ly/tlQPaB


  2. Danielle writes:
    January 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Another one to note for international educators:

    “International Education: Striking a Balance” – Friday, January 20, 2-3pm online. This online workshop was developed by Melibee Global Education Consulting and is only $12.
    http://melibeeglobal.com/international-educators-balance-workshop/

    “This workshop is for anyone who feels they’re starting the year stressed and headed for burn out. If you want ideas about how to practice the art of saying no, dedicating more time to your life without feeling guilty and being 100% present in your work/studies when you’re there, please sign up.”


  3. Idealist writes:
    January 20, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Super. Thank you both!

    A member of our LinkedIn group also pointed out that it’s worth looking into community college courses. She found a six-week non-credited online Fundraising for Nonprofits course for $85. Her comment is here if you want to ask her about it: http://linkd.in/xH9acY

    Keep the ideas coming! -Julia


  4. Ann writes:
    January 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I am also taking 6-week courses online. My first one is Starting a Non-Profit. The site I am using is Ed2Go.com/jscc. If you go through Ed2Go, the courses are more expensive than going through a local college. Through these condensed yet informative courses, I am learning about sites like this one.


  5. Vanitha writes:
    January 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for this list Julia!

    I also found this one coming up on Feb 1st:

    Free Webinar: How to Make Your Grant Proposal Stand Out from the Pack
    http://www.charityhowto.com/upcoming_info.php?vid=344


  6. Michael Anderson writes:
    February 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Nonprofits Assistance Fund offers free on-demand Coffee Break Webinars – 15-minute video trainings on various nonprofit financial management topics. http://bit.ly/zaAVYL


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