Is Training Just for Paid Employees?
Training boosts staff morale, equips them with new tools and improves the overall organization with best practices. For most nonprofits, training budgets are used to send employees to workshops and conferences. However, nonprofit organizations should consider expanding training budgets to involve board members and on-going volunteers.
Board members need to understand how a nonprofit operates, including proficiency in analyzing financial reports. They need to know their role and how it fits into the organization as a whole. Their passion for the nonprofit's mission is critical in making the most of their talent and support. Training can accelerate their energy and provide an outlet for them to share ideas.
Volunteers are the lifeline of many nonprofits. By investing in your volunteers, as you would staff, your resources and time will yield a high rate of return. When properly trained, volunteers are a great way to build organizational capacity.
Training and development of both board members and volunteers builds relationships and strengthens our community. They are ambassadors who serve the organization as stewards of the mission. By giving ambassadors the tools and resources they need to do their jobs more effectively, the more connected and loyal they will be.
Elle Benson is the Director of Capacity Building for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits (ABN), East Tennessee’s nonprofit resource center. She oversees the educational development and consulting practices at ABN. Elle brought ten years of nonprofit and business consulting experience into assisting in the creation of ABN. Her nonprofit experience includes fundraising, nonprofit program development, nonprofit and corporate marketing, human resources, board governance, and strategic planning. She holds a certification in board governance from BoardSource, a global network advancing board governance practices. She also has a certificate in group facilitation. She earned a business degree from the Haslam College of Business, and she completed her MBA in leadership and organizational change at Tiffin University.
She currently teaches nonprofit management for the University of Tennessee Non-Credit Programs. Elle enjoys being involved in the community, having served on eight nonprofit boards. She is currently serving on boards and committees for the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee, Friends of Literacy, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and Young Professionals of Knoxville.