Take yourself back to school

The Value of Certifications and Education for Nonprofit Leaders and Business Owners

Do you ever feel like your to-do list is never-ending? 

The year is new, the school semester has started and with it, the day-to-day post-holiday crazy is here.

With so much on your plate, it can be challenging to prioritize tasks that aren’t directly related to your day-to-day operations. However – as a business owner or nonprofit leader – investing in your education and professional development should be a non-negotiable item on your list.

(Don’t panic – when we say “education”, we don’t mean algebra!)

In this blog post, we’ll explore why the certifications and education you gain as a leader can help you and your organization thrive.

Staying Up-to-Date on Industry Trends

Professional development opportunities can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your field. This knowledge will give you a better understanding of how to stay ahead of the curve.

You also don’t have to go anywhere to learn! Thanks to the internet, there’s no shortage of helpful webinars and podcasts. But if a good old-fashioned conference is more your cup of tea, there are plenty of those, too.

From what you learn through each of these opportunities, you can incorporate new practices, approaches and technologies into your daily operations, helping your business or nonprofit grow and succeed.

Continual Skills Improvement

Certification programs and training sessions offer an opportunity to build new skills and enhance existing ones. This means you’ll better understand how your organization functions and what you can do to foster communication, teamwork and productivity. 

Plus, by acquiring new skills, you’ll push yourself outside of your comfort zone, stretching your abilities in ways that can lead to personal and professional growth. 

Networking Opportunities

Attending conferences, webinars and other certification programs can allow you to connect with other professionals in your industry. This can be invaluable as you look for new partnerships, funding opportunities and ideas. 

Peer-to-peer networking can also provide much-needed inspiration, sharing stories of success and struggle that can help reignite your passion for the work you do. 

You also never know who might be right around the corner and ready to help encourage, mentor or advocate for you or your organization’s cause. Don’t overlook the value of great partnerships!

Demonstrating Professionalism and Commitment

Obtaining certifications, attending training sessions and participating in conferences and webinars demonstrates your level of commitment and professionalism. And anyone leading an organization can tell you how important those two traits are!

These accomplishments show that you are dedicated to your industry and organization, constantly seeking to improve your abilities as a leader. 

Additionally, certifications and training can provide tangible evidence of your skills to potential partners, donors or even future employers. Basically, you can’t be over-educated.

Encouraging Employee Development

Finally, investing in your own education sends a strong message to your employees. 

By demonstrating a commitment to professional growth and development, you encourage your team to take a similar approach. This creates an organizational culture that

  1. values education and professional development and
  2. inspires employees to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

To really establish a culture of further education, consider offering a company-paid degree for qualifying individuals. This encourages employees not only to improve themselves but also seek ways to improve things within your organization. Win-win.

Investing in your own education and professional development is an essential component of success for any nonprofit leader or business owner. And it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment of time, either. 

Start with an hour a week for webinars, and even if you can’t make it at the time, most will send you slides and resources afterward.

Some educational resources we love? CauseVox, HubSpot, WildApricot, Mailchimp, Nonprofit Hub and the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia

So don’t hesitate – start exploring the professional development opportunities available to you today!