Back to School!
Have a plan for how you will put the learnings to use
I once worked for someone who thought training was pretty much a waste of time and money. When I finally got approval to attend a multiday conference, I knew I had to come back and "wow" him with the value our organization received for the investment.
My solution was to write up my report on the training (required) but not simply regurgitate my session notes. Rather, I quickly summarized each session and then divided my learnings into one of five categories, each identified with a graphic to make it "jump out" in the report. These categories were: Key Takeaway, Information, Action, Idea and Terminology (four new terms that I didn't know before the training and suspected my boss wouldn't know, either).
By sorting my notes into these categories, I not only convinced my boss that the training had been valuable, but I came home with an action plan. My "Action" items were for immediate implementation. "Idea" notes were for further thought and research. And "Key Takeaway" notes helped shaped my strategic thinking.
My system might not work for you, but devise your own system to make what you learn useful — to you and to your organization. This helps justify the training investment, both to your boss and to you.
As you head back to school, remember what Henry Ford said: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." Enjoy staying young!
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.