August 08, 2019

pov: Professional Development: Empowering Staff to Grow and Learn

It’s easy to adopt a scarcity-driven mindset in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits are lean organizations and we watch our expenses carefully. The tradeoff that mindset imposes on nonprofit organizations is that it becomes a habit to say “no” to things without fully investigating the longer-term impact of what saying “yes” could bring to your nonprofit.

This year’s UNA Annual Nonprofit Conference: Connect NOW! has assembled 24 different breakout sessions focused on practical ways you can better your mission and yourself. And before you say, “it’s not in the budget,” let me walk you through why you should take a harder look at attending the conference.

Saying “yes” to participating in the conference can increase staff longevity, decrease volunteer turnover, increase audience engagement, better manage IT risk, and increase funding. And, if you enroll by end of day August 13, you’ll receive the Early Bird rate. (Bringing a group of 5 attendees further reduces the expense.)

I truly believe that you can’t afford not to attend the conference. I recently had a staff member advocate for their own professional development in their annual review indicating, “I believe in this work and I want to make sure I take serious (read: my boss takes seriously) how much I want to be here for the long term”. What is so powerful about that statement is this: It clearly illustrates the importance of valuing the professional development of our teams. My philosophy is this: Empowering and encouraging staff to grow and learn provides a direct correlation to how team comradery is developed, how valued people feel at work, and how carving out one day for training can keep teams interested, excited, and happy.

If you are a nonprofit Executive or a Director and you control your nonprofit’s budget, I encourage you to carve out some professional development training dollars for your staff. If you are a front line staff or you are not sure if you have the money to come to the UNA conference in your organization’s budget, I encourage you to share this post with your supervisor and ask them if you can come. Our sector truly is stronger with each and every one of us receiving regular training that directly impacts our work.

I hope to see you at the UNA Annual Nonprofit Conference: Connect NOW! on September 26, 2019. You can learn more here and then register here.

Kate Rubalcava
Chief Executive Officer
Utah Nonprofits Association