Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Eight tips for getting the most out of professional education

KateBNEAuthor: Kate Sunners

We are used to seeing deep concentration on the faces of our Grant-Seeker Workshop participants, and we know from our own experience that at every nonprofit professional learning experience there is just so much to absorb. We thought we’d share our tips on how to get the most out of these sessions and rather than going away in a haze of information unsure where to begin, how to implement your learnings and reap the rewards!

  1. Whether you are a notetaker or a learner by listening, it’s great to try and stay present in the moment, and to be trying to apply any insights from speakers to your own organisational context. That way you’ll be thinking up great questions to put to the speakers in question time!

  2. Ask questions. Sometimes presenters can offer a wealth of information when given a specific example or are prompted to recall their own experiences.

    We find that when our workshop participants ask questions, a lot of the time other people share their similar experiences and solutions. This way our workshops become a way to enhance sector collaboration!

  3. Use the breaks to chat to your neighbours and network!

  4. If you forget to ask lots of questions, put them to the presenter on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

  5. Write yourself to-do notes during the session, scribble down anything you want to personally do better, and note any insights you are having into organisational or strategic weak points that you can focus on applying your new knowledge to later– it’ll really come in handy when you’re trying to filter all the information in the coming weeks!

  6. Set aside an hour or two in the 2-3 days following the event or session (while it’s still fresh) to review your notes and write yourself a structured

    writingnotepadsm to-do list with achievable timeframes.

  7. Share the information – do you have colleagues who would benefit from a run-down of your key learnings? Writing them down in a digestible format to send around the office is sometimes a really great way of consolidating your own knowledge, as well as benefitting your organisation!

  8. Always download the take-aways or scan your handouts and file them somewhere that makes sense! If I had a penny for every time I’ve thought I’d remember something – only to go back to try to look for it a few years later and find I’ve misplaced/misfiled the handout or the link to webinar slides has expired – I’d have quite a collection of obsolete currency.