The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow
By Breanna Wilson, California State University Monterey Bay Intern with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence
You just got hired in your dream role of nonprofit fundraising and development. You have done some work in the sector but mostly programs. You get your brand new shiny Mac computer and when you open it, rainbows and unicorns start jumping out at you along with a very detailed development plan that basically brings funds in on its own! Just by opening your new computer, you are overwhelmed with a wealth of knowledge and donor commitments! No additional training or research into your new role is necessary because everything you need is there at your fingertips. You might as well call it a day and go home. Congratulations!!
The reality is that most people who are brought into a fundraising or nonprofit development position are not as prepared as they can be. – Breanna Wilson
The keywords above are ‘imagine’ and ‘unicorns’ (because who doesn’t like unicorns?). In actuality, is it likely that all the information will be at your fingertips and new Mac computer? Probably not. The reality is that most people who are brought into a fundraising or nonprofit development position are not as prepared as they can be. When it comes to finding relatable, helpful, affordable training in the nonprofit sector, I have found that there are very limited options.
In my experience, the training I researched is either very entry-level or advanced. Since I have experience in the nonprofit world, I do not feel I should pay to learn how to do the basics such as writing a thank you card. Although thank yous and engagement with the community and donors is one of the most important aspects of working in development (if not the most important), I think it is essential to have opportunities to learn and grow at my own pace and be able to select the training that best fits where I am now.
I feel that I have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. NonprofitReady is an online learning space for people within the nonprofit sector, and the CNE links to it along with others like it. – Breanna Wilson
I feel that I have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. NonprofitReady is an online learning space for people within the nonprofit sector, and the CNE links to it along with others like it. It offers many different training opportunities and certificates for free! Its mission is to “support nonprofit professionals and organizations by providing access to free sector-specific learning so that they have the knowledge and resources to create transformative impact in their own communities.” From fundraising and grant proposal writing to board development and volunteer management, there is training for you and your nonprofit. NonprofitReady is something of a unicorn, highly desirable (and needed) but difficult to find or obtain.
With that said, there are many other helpful resources shared on the Center For Nonprofit (CNE) Resources & RFPs page. I help to curate the resources listed there. Many of the workshop opportunities are free (with the exception of some week-long trainings and certificates). I personally am very interested in topics like leadership development, how to maximize fundraising through technology, and board development.
I participated in a CNE series recently that offered valuable discussions and connections with other leaders in the nonprofit community called “Tune into your Leadership Voice” facilitated by ileana Ortega Brunetti. I am glad to see that it will be offered again. I found many technology trainings on NonprofitReady, as well as virtual board development trainings like the “Nonprofit Board Essentials” workshop.