nonprofit professional development

Whether you are moving into the nonprofit sector from the corporate realm or have been involved in nonprofit work throughout your career, there are many ways for you to grow as a leader.

Nevertheless, finding the right approach for nonprofit professional development can seem challenging if you aren’t sure where to start.

To help you create the right professional development plan, we’ve put together ten of the top methods for professional growth. Keep reading to gain inspiration for your own plan or start growing your career with one of our ideas below.

Top Methods for Nonprofit Professional Development

  1. Volunteer: Volunteering wherever you are needed allows you to develop new skills, familiarize yourself with the broader scope of your organization, and build relationships. You don’t need to limit your service to your own organization either. Reaching out to others can also help your career a great deal.
  2. Try new things: Senior-level leaders need to be able to apply their skills to a variety of tasks. In order to practice this, seek opportunities to try new things in your organization.
  3. Continuing education: You need to keep up on what’s happening in your sector. The things you learn through advanced coursework and the people you associate with will help you build your knowledge base.
  4. Peer networking: Find people who are at a similar point in their own careers and develop genuine relationships with them. Be sure that you add real value to the relationship. That way, your peers will come to value you and may open doors for you in the future.
  5. Informational interviews: Find those who hold a position that you might aspire to have. Ask them questions about how they got to where they are, what they contribute every day, and what the position demands from them.
  6. Explore your organization: Take the time to develop a broad view of everything that is involved in the role of running a nonprofit. This will be valuable to you as you advance to higher leadership positions and find yourself handling multiple roles.
  7. Move around: When you are seeking to progress as a leader, you need to be willing to let go of your current organization. Be open to the possibility of relocating to advance your career.
  8. Seek daily challenges: Leaders are challenged daily, so it is crucial to avoid becoming complacent. Striving to challenge yourself on a daily basis will accomplish this as well as build your résumé.
  9. Relationship with the board: The board is involved in selecting leaders to fill vacancies. If you have a relationship with them, they will be more likely to consider you when there is a need.
  10. Learn from mistakes: As you take on new challenges and work outside your comfort zone, you will most likely make mistakes. Take the time to learn from these and plan how you will do better in the future.

Through applying these methods, you will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully lead an organization. It is especially important to be proactive and learn from others as you prepare for future leadership opportunities.

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.