Nonprofit Employees Need Training Too

Often overlooked in nonprofit expense budgets are funds to pay for training and
educational opportunities for the staff. Nonprofit employees tend to forgo a lot of “tradtional” perks and benefits experienced by individuals who work in the corporate sector. Many willingly trade these benefits for the flexibility and challenges that come with nonprofit work. However, the opportunity to keep up on professional standards, learn new skills and receive training in various areas is not only important for nonprofit staffers, but also provides a well-needed infusion of expertise and keeps service delivery appropriate.

Not all training opportunities need to be expensive. Nonprofit employees may benefit from local conferences and workshops, trainings provided by community colleges, business workshops and other local resources. Check with your chamberof commerce, as well as local schools and nearby colleges to see what sort of training and education opportunity may be available right in your own community. Professional organizations and associations also sponsor workshops and conferences that may be appropriate for certain staff.

Many classes and training sessions offer scholarships to participants who qualify. When you are looking into a particular opportunity, don’t hesitate to ask if there is any discount or scholarships available to employees of nonprofit organizations. There may also be a multi-participant discount on registration or a way two or more employees can share materials for a reduced rate.

Staff training is also a very “fundable” project for donors, corporate sponsors and grant makers. It may be worth the agency’s time to look for possible grants or corporate sponsorship funds that could be solicited to pay for employees to attend a conference or workshop, or to create an ongoing training fund. Another idea is to write in training expenses to another grant project, providing for staff to improve skills and education in order to better implement a particular program or project.

Some nonprofits have developed their own conferences or workshops in order to
generate income and attract specialists and other participants for training and
educational purposes. Puting on your own event is a great way to bring experts and colleagues together to focus on specific topics and professional development.

There are several creative ways to find training and professional growth
opportunities for nonprofit employees. An organizational culture that supports
training and development will not only encourage professional and up-to-date service delivery for programs and clients, but also benefit from happier, more satisfied staff.