Effective trainers: a key element to building a strong nonprofit sector

June 6, 2018

“Thank you! These workshops gave me so much useful information, tangible information to use!”

You need to know a lot to run a nonprofit organization. You need a well-honed set of skills and tools designed to help you take action. You need to know that every training you go to will be excellent and action-focused.

In three sessions between April and May, 68 consultants and in-house trainers from both nonprofits and government agencies participated in the inaugural “Train the Trainer” series offered by Washington Nonprofits in partnership with Guila Muir and Tracy Flynn. They learned how to construct an effective workshop, ways to engage people in learning, and how to ensure that learning transfers back into the work setting. They got the chance to practice their skills, a unique opportunity for people who rarely have the chance for friendly feedback.

Some important take-aways, expressed by participants:

  • Motivation drives everything. Tapping into emotions, both to honor and harness them, is key to an effective training.
  • Learning begins and ends with the person learning, not the person teaching. Our expertise is irrelevant if we aren’t finding ways to meet them where they are.
  • We can save time by sharing “worked examples.” These include samples, templates, and other documents that people can modify.
  • A workshop is one event within a longer span of learning. We can do “priming” work in advance of a workshop and “boosting” efforts afterwards to deepen the experience.
  • Reflection gives people time to connect what they are hearing with their own experiences. It’s important to build in thinking time.

For the past five years, Washington Nonprofits has designed learning resources and delivered trainings based on the latest research on adult learning. “Train the Trainer” expanded our scope by bringing a cohort of trainers into the space we work in every day. We intend to make the series an annual event. If you would like to be added to a list of people interested in training within the public space, please email us.


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