Designing Transformative Communications Capacity Building Programs for Nonprofits | Beth’s Blog

Designing Transformative Communications Capacity Building Programs for Nonprofits

Training Design



I’ve been working in the nonprofit sector almost 35 years and 20 years ago I had the a front seat at the creation of a new field, nonprofit technology and using the Internet for mission driven work.    My first job was as a network coordinator for an online network of artists, called ArtsWire.    My job responsibilities:   designing and delivering capacity building programs for artists, arts organizations, and arts educators to gain these new skills.     I was lucky enough to have opportunities to co-teach with superb educators where I jokingly say that I acquired my degree in instructional design!     In addition,  I was lucky enough to be the online facilitator for a virtual leadership program for arts administrators co-hosted by the Cornell University School of Management where I learned and practiced a range of instructional techniques for teaching adults.

Teaching, leaning, and training has been my passion for 20 years.    So,I  was thrilled to facilitate an interactive panel at the Communications Network Conference in New Orleans last week on the topic of designing capacity building programs with colleagues Farra Trompeter,  Michael Hoffman, and Eva Penar.    Our interactive session at the Fall 2013 Communications Network Conference in New Orleans was a blend of content delivery and peer learning – a conversation about the value, different approaches and models, and best practices.  Betsey Russell captured the highlights of the content in this blog post, “Boosting Nonprofit Communication Capacity.”

Whether the model your foundation is using to help its grantees is a one-day master class or extended  program, in the end, success is about having participants apply what they’ve learned and make these new skills an organizational habit.  The tactics can include workshops, master classes, coaching, expert consultants or peer learning.

We asked participants to do a “think and write”  and jot down one idea that resonated before facilitating a grand synthesis of what we learned about designing more impactful capacity building programs for grantees.    You can read my guest post over the Communications Network Blog that summarizes these insights.