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DIY Nonprofit Professional Development

Did you have a chance to catch the Stanford Social Innovation Review piece “The Cliff of Unintended Consequences” earlier this year? The authors discuss what we already know to be a sad truth about our sector – the dismal lack of financial resources available for talent development. Additionally, we are up against the mindset that nonprofit workers are so passionate for the cause that they don’t require any attention to their professional development. The business sector gets it, though, equating talent with strong performance. The authors estimate that the nonprofit sector has lost a stunning $36 billion by not having appropriate succession and talent development plans. Wow.

The good news is that, with a little forethought, we can all take part in professional development opportunities that won’t drain our organization’s financial resources. Bridgespan has put together a great list of 52 Free Development Opportunities for Nonprofit Staff. Following is an excerpt.

  • Lead or present at monthly staff meetings
  • Develop internal newsletters or write sections of an annual report
  • Serve on a nonprofit board to develop fundraising experience and gain external relations experience
  • Participate in drafting portions of grant proposals and/or business contracts
  • Develop budgets for grants or own departments
  • Organize events

Start managing your own professional development today. Update your Member Connect profile with your special talents and leadership skill set. And consider telling us your professional development stories by writing for the EPIP Blog. (Contact michael@epip.org for more details.)

Special thanks to the Leadership & Sustainability Institute for Black Male Achievement for bringing these ideas to our attention.

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