Continuing Education for Fundraising Rockstars
Report quickly on key takeaways. When you return from continuing education, immediately organize your key learnings. Whether you have to submit a report on the training to someone in the office or not, it’s important for you to identify what you learned that can be applied to your job—and to do it quickly, before the tyranny of the urgent causes you to forget half of it.
Knowing that you are going to submit a report to someone (or just “report” to yourself) helps guide you through the event because your focus will be to walk away from the training with actionable materials. This may be something you picked up from an exhibitor, a great idea you saw in a presentation or something exchanged in conversation with another attendee. If you leave the conference with little or no takeaways, you’ll know that it wasn’t a good investment. That’s unfortunate, but it’s also a learning experience—you’ve just found a continuing education option to never attend again.
Point back to the training when you do something as a result of what you learned. Whether this is to yourself or to a supervisor, it’s an ongoing way to make a case for investing in your continuing education. If it is crystal clear that investing in training you has great payback, continuing education going forward will be easier to justify.
And yes, sometimes the continuing education disappoints. Big time. You enjoyed some camaraderie and a few decent meals, but deep down you know that’s about all the value your received. Don’t use that as a reason to give up on all future training. Instead go back to the beginning and tighten your criteria for choosing what to attend.
This old dog has high hopes for this week’s training. I have gone through the schedule and highlighted the workshops I want to attend. I have downloaded the app and will set up my schedule on that (probably). I have resupplied my business cards. I am looking forward to learning more than anything else.
And if I meet that goal, you can expect to be privy to some of my key takeaways in future posts. After all, continuing education is not just an occasional event we attend; it’s a daily commitment to looking for—and sharing—nuggets that can help us become more effective fundraisers.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.