Note from Beth: Last January, I put together a train the trainers session for nonprofit trainers. You can find the presentation here and accompanying blog post, How To Think Like A Nonprofit Instructional Designer. Over on the SalsaLabs blog, they are doing a series on designing nonprofit tech training and I discovered this excellent rewrite of my post. And if that’s not enough, we’ll also be sharing a few of the latest and greatest user trainings on Salsa tools to quench your thirst for knowledge and skills. Anyway, they graciously allowed me to republish the post here as a guest post while I am on the plane to Europe where I will be keynoting at the Internet Festival in Pisa, Italy and before heading to the International Fundraising Congress in Amsterdam where I’ll participate in a plenary session.
8 Reasons Why Bad Trainings Happen to Good Nonprofits by Salsa Labs
Nonprofit training can take on many shapes and forms – leadership, management, technology, volunteer, board development, fundraising, and the list goes on. While some trainings are informative and deeply enriching, others are…well, just down right boring. Training and education are essential drivers and serve an important function for improving employee performance, satisfaction and yes, even increasing staff retention. So why aren’t nonprofits focused more on developing quality training programs?
This month, we’ll be bringing you a few bright spots from the world of training: Why is training so important? How can you improve the culture of training at your nonprofit? What are some helpful tips for training better nonprofit workers and volunteers? And if that’s not enough, we’ll also be sharing a few of the latest and greatest user trainings on Salsa tools to quench your thirst for knowledge and skills.
To kick things off, we are sharing a list of why trainings sometimes fail to capture participants’ attention and ultimately diminish their effectiveness. It was originally part of Beth Kanter’s presentation called Designing and Delivering Nonprofit Trainings: Tips That Work that she delivered earlier this year.
The following are eight eye-opening tips; see if they sound familiar. Don’t worry – you’re now flying in our no judgement zone. So if you’ve had problems in the past with equipping your team – or yourself – with essential skills to take your work to the next level, then lean in and get ready to get schooled on effective training:
- TMI: Don’t overload participants with too much information. Reign in your facts, figures and stories. Create a simple outline with the top line things your audience needs to learn by the end of the training and stick to it.
- Right audience. Wrong message. Your content needs to resonate with your audience’s needs. They’re coming to your training because they want to learn a specific skill. Don’t leave them hanging.
- Starved for attention: Show your trainees some love. Don’t just talk at them, interact! Ask questions. Open the floor up for them to share their own experiences and reasons for attending your training.
- Death by PowerPoint: C’mon you know the look:
- Save your monologues for the stage. You might be the trainer, but you’re not the only one with helpful insights. Share the spotlight. Keep your training conversational and your participants will be less inclined to walk out or throw things should they grow dissatisfied.
- If practice makes perfect, then NO practice makes…people very, very, VERY unhappy. Let people in on the action. Denying participants a chance to test their knowledge is denying them a chance to truly fully absorb the information. Be sure to provide an outlet for feedback as well.
- Break time? If your training runs longer than 45 minutes, schedule some time for a break. Participants will love you for it!
- Facility or technical problems: We’ve all been there. Do your best to minimize these problems by getting to your training room early and testing your equipment.
Final words of advice: Training is tough, but we all start at the beginning!