"Lifetime Learning for your Nonprofit Life" is more than a catchy (I hope) tagline.
I can't think of another time in history when lifetime learning was more important – especially in the nonprofit sector.
I know it’s so trite to say, (but I’ll say it anyway) “we don’t live in our parent’s world.”
A quick example… my grandfather was an auto mechanic – starting his career tinkering with Model T’s. Each new model year brought changes and challenges into his shop, but I don’t think he ever took a course on the Ford 351 engine or sat in a seminar about the latest from Dodge. He had a solid grasp of the basics, got a shop manual every few years, and learned on-the-job along the way. By the time he closed his shop after 40 years, he could still diagnose an engine problem by just listening to it.
And that’s what we have in common with our parents and grandparents: knowing the basics and learning on the job is as important as it ever was.
What’s changed? “The basics” includes so much more, everything that we thought was extra is essential, and there’s a whole new layer on top that makes you an expert.
Oh, and today, a single new technique can change everything. And if you don’t know about the latest and greatest the next day it’s out, your career could be on the line.
And I get how this applies to nonprofits...
I’ve been working for (in my paycheck jobs) and with (in my consulting business) nonprofits for longer than I want to admit: 30+ years! My first job was in volunteer management, recruiting and training for the Boy Scouts of America. After that, I raised money in higher education. In consulting I’ve worked with all sorts of great causes, in healthcare, education, social service, animals and environment and lots more.
In 1994 I graduated among the first class in the nation’s first dedicated master’s program in philanthropy and development, at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. I put that degree to work in a new way in 2006, as an academic instructor in fundraising, philanthropy, marketing and more, starting at Eastern University, then soon at Thomas Edison State University, Juniata College and the University of Pennsylvania.
While I've presented hundreds of in-person seminars for professional associations and I've enjoyed traditional classroom teaching, I've found online instruction much more exciting. The tools to convey information and interact with learners has exploded, and become more effective. Yes, I've been "on the ground" teaching adult learners on four continents, but it's pretty cool when you can have students from all of those places in the same virtual classroom, learning from each other.
Working in the online environment is also how I came to understand that how someone learns is nearly as important as what someone learns. A short video on a new technique viewed by nonprofit workers in central Asia, West Virginia and Northern California (or anywhere, for that matter) can make a much bigger impact than an hour's talk in a hotel conference room in Philadelphia.
But where a learner is, is only part of the equation. Who you hear from is important, too.
As a consultant to nonprofits, I've found that there are experienced people who work for nonprofits, and others who serve nonprofits as their business who are dedicated to the sector, all of whom have great wisdom and important knowledge to impart.
Their problem? They have no platform on which to provide that information. I'm committed to education, which means no "infomercial" type content. But I am also committed to getting these voices heard, and if they want, benefit from them more directly (in other words, if you like what someone says and want to engage them as a consultant, freelancer or vendor - by all means, please do!)
Then there's a matter of resources.
We both know that nonprofit people are among the thriftiest, and time-stressed people any of us have met – and for good reason. Mission is #1! For a staff leader or staff member, it means squeezing every second out of the day, and a lot of that away from family. For volunteers and board members, it’s doing their day job, then doing their nonprofit duties.
As a result, yes, there will always be an amount of quality free content you can use. Yet for as much as I'd love to give everything away (even for a great cause), it's impossible. Just so you know (and by way of transparency) the revenue for Nonprofit.Courses either now, or is projected to come from advertising, user memberships, course posting fees, and affiliate agreements, among others. These will allow us to bring you - as a staff leader or worker, or board member or volunteer - the very best content to help you carry out your important mission.
So, in sum, what’s all this to say?
My goal is to provide you with a wide variety of education and training opportunities to strengthen your nonprofit, with convenience, at a value you’ll appreciate. That’s because as someone dedicated to your important mission, you really need "Lifetime Learning for your Nonprofit Life."