5 Self-Learning Tips to Help You Thrive in the Nonprofit Sector 

5 Self-Learning Tips to Help You Thrive in the Nonprofit Sector 

The continuous rollout of industry-disrupting technology and new workflows pressures nonprofit employees to keep skilling up.

Some estimates suggest that half of all skills in today’s workforce will be eliminated within two years. So, immersing in one profession for five, let alone 15 years, without picking up new skills along the way is not only a missed opportunity, but it could jeopardize long-term career security. 

As for organizations themselves — failure to provide growth opportunities or to train employees in new skills can result in high turnover, liability due to mistakes made by undertrained employees, and poor work culture.

The job market increasingly calls for fast learning abilities and interdisciplinary knowledge. Here are five ways you can foster your own, and your staff’s continued learning.


# 1 Looking Outside the Sector!

Have you ever heard the anecdote about Henry Ford dreaming up the automotive assembly line after observing similar workflows in a meat-packing factory? While it’s important to learn what you can about the nonprofit world on its own terms, a truly valuable perspective introduces new information people in your sector can use to grow creatively.  

Take some time to investigate other industries, perhaps in other countries. Have fun with it, because it is not uncommon that brilliant solutions come unexpectedly when we enjoy learning for its own sake. You could learn more about disruptive technologies with The Silicone Valley Podcast with Sean Flynn or learn about entrepreneurial finance from Farnoosh Torabi’s So Money podcast.


# 2 Networking

For more extroverted learners, self-education does not necessarily have to mean holing up with a podcast or a stack of books. The information we gain while networking is fortified with people’s individual stories – which is usually what makes information stick with us in the first place.

Getting out and meeting new people exposes us to relevant conversations, revolutionary new business models, and inspirational thought leadership.

This is why Nonprofit Hub hosts the Cause Camp Nonprofit Conference annually, to benefit our own in-person learning in addition to that of the nonprofit community.


# 3 Online Courses

If you decide to go back to school to bone up on the nonprofit sector, we won’t try to stop you. But first, you should be aware of the myriad online courses that are available for a fraction of the cost (if not free).

One of the major benefits of online courses is that you can take them at your own pace and as the need to learn arises. Many technological phenomena that are reshaping industries have not been available for very long, making it difficult to determine what qualifies as expert knowledge in the emerging trend.

For example, ChatGPT was launched two years ago, you are not going to find someone who has ten years of experience working with it. And even if you attend a two-year master’s program to try and become a ChatGPT expert, there’s no telling how many disruptive new technologies could come out in the interval.

For this reason, among others, your best bet may be to periodically scan the web for affordable online courses that can help you cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Nonprofit Hub offers numerous courses in the Cause Network. From grant writing to nonprofit accounting, board basics to emerging social trends, and much, much more. Be sure to check out the Cause Network if you want to pick up some new skills. We also provide free webinars, podcasts, and guides to help you hit the ground running.


# 4 LinkedIn Groups

Hey, remember how we said earlier that networking is great for exposing you to new ideas and strategies? Well, there are numerous LinkedIn groups that will allow you to do that from home!

You can get immediate access to trending conversations, emerging technologies, and new ideas by joining LinkedIn groups like:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Social Media for Nonprofit Groups

Nonprofit Marketing

You can also follow Nonprofit Hub’s social channels to learn about free and upcoming Webinars.


# 5 Peer-to-Peer Membership Groups

Finally, you can make use of peer-to-peer mentorship programs. A big reason why we go back to school is to get feedback from professors and mentors, as well as for the connections we make. Fortunately, there are other opportunities to extract that value.

With nonprofit membership programs, we get access to up-and-coming courses and networking in addition to input from peers and seasoned experts.

If you are seeking a peer-to-peer mentorship program, you can check out the Cause Network Membership Program, which unites driven nonprofit pros to share resources and insights and do good.


Conclusion: Self-Learning Benefits All

Hopefully, you found these resources helpful. Always remember that growth and up-skilling benefit both the organization and the individual. Lack of growth opportunities is ranked even above poor pay as a reason why nonprofit employees leave their jobs. So, investing in employee development and training is essential to the stability and long-term growth of the organization.

As for individuals, developing your versatility and interdisciplinary knowledge will put you in alignment with the current needs of the nonprofit job market. So always keep up your learning however you can.


The post 5 Self-Learning Tips to Help You Thrive in the Nonprofit Sector  appeared first on Nonprofit Hub.

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