Training is Nothing Without Personal Commitment

August 14, 2013

For years and years, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has offered trainings and workshops to help local nonprofit staff, board members, and volunteers build effectiveness and knowledge in fundraising, communications, leadership, governance, finance, human resources and many other areas of nonprofit management.

Beginning last year, our monthly rotation of classes started focusing on what we now know about real nonprofit capacity needs through the profiles developed in The Giving Partner.

For example, we quickly learned that less than 25% of all organizations have a written communications plan to guide them in integrated messaging and objectives for increased awareness with key stakeholder groups.

So we offered a communications training (packed house), complete with a thorough explanation of the benefits of a communications plan, examples applicable to nonprofits of all sizes and mission focuses, and details about how to put a thoughtful plan together.  In closing, we provided a template that could be customized based on organizational complexity, needs and special circumstances.  We received great feedback.

Fast-forward one year later: approximately the same percentage of those original organizations have a written communications plan uploaded in their Giving Partner profiles.

Training is important. But it’s not useful at all without a personal commitment to get ‘er done.

We’re not kidding ourselves; we know you get back to your desks to find hundreds of e-mails and calls to return. People with real needs. Board members with questions. Volunteers requiring your attention.

Today I spent eight hours in a productivity workshop to help me unlock the tremendous potential of Outlook to manage my calendar, contacts, staff and tasks.

Like I often feel after a training, I’m a little overwhelmed, but I also feel excited about the possibilities. And like the trainings you attend, not every part of it was right for me or my work style, but so much of it could do wonders to improve my efficiency.

Now for the hardest part: the personal discipline to do what I agreed to do.

I’m hoping that John Annis will help me. He was my designated learning partner—we agreed to check in with each other, do certain things post-training, and hold each other accountable for them.

What’s your secret to success after a training? Do you often put your notes, ideas and realizations into action? Does it last?

We want to know how we can better support you after you attend one of our workshops.

I like the idea of an accountability buddy. We’re also open to your thoughts about how a coach or consultant could be assigned to you after attending a training to help you follow through and facilitate a process with your board or staff team. Talk to us. Let us know how we can help.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

P.S. We feel confident that your communications plan will be uploaded into The Giving Partner any day now! Do you need the template again? It’s not a cookie cutter, but a guide you can adapt to your organization. Just say the word, and we’ll send it to you.



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