I still remember looking for my first job after college. Having interned at a human rights organization in The Big Apple, I was looking for something similar in Tinseltown, the only problem being that L.A. is dominated by The Industry. So, while my friends got their first breaks as underlings on film crews, I struggled to find relevant opportunities.
Then, along came a seemingly perfect opening at a well-regarded organization. I marched into their office, ready to extol my academic accomplishments and relevant experience, but their first question was, “Are you good at fixing printers? We could really use someone around here who is good with technology.” I went blank. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job, but I did learn an important lesson about the value of concrete skills. So, what exactly are nonprofits looking for in a job applicant nowadays, and what is the best way to meet these expectations?
Aside from “soft skills” such as resourcefulness and dedication to the organization’s mission, some highly-sought after abilities include tech savvy, video creation, and proposal writing. How can you cultivate these skills in a rapidly-shifting environment? I would argue that webinars, either live or recorded, are the perfect way to hone your skills on a continual basis. Oftentimes short enough to incorporate into a lunch break, webinars are jam-packed with information on the latest topics, enabling participants to keep up with trends or adapt to changing circumstances. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which webinars can help you to fine-tune your resume and marketable skills.
Developing Technical Know-How
If my printer story is all too familiar to you, it might be time to brush up on your technical know-how. Luckily, there are some informative webinars out there to help you get up to speed.
One fantastic resource for technology-related information is TechSoup. They offer free live webinars as well as an archive of recent webinars available to watch on demand. These recorded webinars include sessions such as “Top Tech Picks for Nonprofits with Small Budgets,” “Upgrade Your Nonprofit’s Technology in 2021,” and “Four Apps Helping Nonprofits Successfully Respond to COVID-19 Challenges.” You can make the most of your newly-acquired know-how by also taking advantage of TechSoup’s product donation program, which allows nonprofits to purchase a wide variety of software, as well as hardware and tech support, for a modest fee.
Nonprofit Tech for Good also offers a plethora of webinars focused on technology-related topics. As of this writing, some of their upcoming webinars aim to equip participants with skills in website security and social media data and analytics. Many of their webinars are free, and the others are only $20 to attend.
If you are in the market to purchase software specific to your nonprofit’s needs, many companies host webinars to enable you to preview the product’s features before making a commitment. For example, Foundant’s “GrantHub Demonstration Webinar” seeks to explain its grant management solution. Bloomerang, which provides donor management software, offers demos of its product, as does Classy, an online fundraising software company.
Engaging Virtual Audiences
The fact that video creation is such a highly sought-after skill underscores the importance of drawing online audiences to an organization’s cause. If you have never shot a video or hosted an online fundraiser, fret not. Webinars can help guide you through the mysteries of digital engagement.
If you’d like to learn how to create videos, as of this writing, there are some upcoming webinars you may want to attend. Nonprofit Learning Lab is offering two webinars on this topic. “The Power of Video: Using Other Voices to Share Yours” aims to help organizations engage audiences by capturing their stories on video, and “Using Video to Build Nonprofit Success” seeks to “explore using video as a means to amplify and expand branding or rebranding efforts, fundraising efforts, and social media efforts.” For those without expensive video equipment, CharityHowTo’s upcoming webinar “How to Capture and Share Impactful Stories Using Your Smartphone” might be of interest. Both sites also offer webinars on other topics related to boosting online engagement.
Classy and Bloomerang also hold webinars that can help engage virtual communities. As Classy specializes in online fundraising, their webinars are focused on topics such as fundraising in a digital world, optimizing corporate fundraising via LinkedIn, and peer-to-peer fundraising. Bloomerang offers both live and recorded webinars focused on engaging audiences. As of this writing, they have an upcoming live session entitled “Using WhatsApp to Increase Engagement with Multicultural Communities,” as well as recorded webinars organized by topics such as digital fundraising and social media.
Honing Proposal Writing Skills
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that you need a diversified income stream in order to survive turbulent times. Now, more than ever, proposal writing is a highly sought-after skill. Even those organizations that once relied heavily on fundraising are seeking proposal writers to help them raise needed funds. If you have never tried your hand at writing a grant proposal, or if you are looking to expand your knowledge on the topic, webinars are a great way to build your proposal writing skills.
GrantStation, which is dedicated to helping grantseekers find funding sources and mentoring organizations through the grantseeking process, offers a number of webinars on this topic. GrantStation’s upcoming live webinars include two series on the topics of storytelling and capital campaigns, and their recorded webinars delve into the basics of proposal writing, determining whether your organization is grant ready, and utilizing logic models for program planning and evaluation. Best of all, many of GrantStation's webinars also enable you to earn continuing education points through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI).
Another resource for proposal writing knowledge is The Grantsmanship Center, which offers a number of on-demand webinars on this topic. Those looking to learn the basics can view sessions such as “How to Find Grantmakers to Fund Your Cause” or “How to Create a Budget for Your Grant Proposal,” while learners wishing to examine more specific aspects of proposal writing can learn about indirect costs and tackling sustainability in a grant proposal. These webinars may also help you to decide whether to sign up for one of the more in-depth training programs offered by The Grantsmanship Center on various dates throughout the year.
Mapping Out a Plan
Now that you are convinced of the value of webinars for building skills, I encourage you dust off that unused agenda and map out a plan. The webinars mentioned in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. For a more comprehensive list of upcoming webinars aimed at nonprofit professionals, visit GrantStation’s PathFinder library and click on Live Webinars.
- Click on the links above to view or register for any one of the webinars mentioned in this article.
- Visit GrantStation’s PathFinder library to explore upcoming live webinars of interest.