Education is the foundation of success in many different professions, but for nonprofit leaders, it's essential to creating strong community outreach and successful fundraising. As a leader, you need to pursue professional development but also use the power of digital learning to continue developing your team across a variety of skills from financial management to strategic business thinking and planning. A well-rounded education creates leaders who inspire others, a quality that is particularly needed in nonprofits.
Following are five ways you can use learning to build leadership in yourself and your team.
1. Financial Education
Nonprofit leaders need more than a superficial understanding of finances. Your entire mission depends on the organization's financial health and your ability to manage often limited funds in the most effective way possible. You can sign up for classes at the local community college, but your time is often short. Flexible, mobile online classes make more sense for you and others on your team who may need to brush up on their financial skills. Plus, you can leverage pre-built financial skills courses created by experts that you offer via the LMS. All of your employees and the organization's board can benefit, making everyone involved a financial leader in-the-making.
2. Purposeful Strategic Planning
Even though non-profit people tend to be focused on serving a greater cause no matter what from day-to-day, it doesn't mean you give up on strategic planning. The good news is you can access learning content that formally teaches your key players about the importance of strategic planning. Whether it's making sure you're doing the most effective fundraising or scheduling meetings with community leaders, the plan makes a difference. Planning isn't an innate gift. It can be taught; so again, leverage your learning platform to deliver these courses and get the leadership team charting toward the same horizon.
3. Professional Development
Professional development used to mean leaving town for several days to attend a conference in some hotel. The travel was expensive and time-consuming. Nonprofits, who generally try to be good financial stewards, may have skipped some of these opportunities to save money. But strong, innovative leaders need to know the latest best practices and exchange ideas with others in the industry. Now, you can enable these experiences while never leaving the office.
4. Continuing Education
Good leaders are curious about many aspects of life. You need to continue learning about subjects that interest you but are technically outside of your job. For instance, you can take a Spanish class or a literature class online to develop your connection to your community or the people you serve. Plus, learning new things makes you a more interesting and intellectually curious leader. Tending to your own needs will also make you more effective in meeting the needs of others. Nonprofit leaders need to be strong individuals as well as professionals.
5. New Opportunities
Pursuing new opportunities is perhaps the best education. Leadership requires that you be flexible and courageous. You may learn more in six months trying something new (even if it fails) than you would applying the same tactics over and over for five years. Good leaders never stop learning. Consider new, different, or even unusual educational avenues to make you stronger.