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Zero-cost, maximum-impact professional development for fundraisers

A woman doing work with her laptop open.

In a sector working to address urgent issues, development professionals are under constant pressure to enhance their fundraising skillset. Enter Candid Learning—a treasure trove of educational resources designed to empower you with top-tier fundraising expertise. Here are some ways you can leverage Candid’s resources for professional development—regardless of time and budget constraints.

Quick ways to build fundraising skills

If your schedule is packed, consider intentionally setting aside a small amount of time—say, 15-20 minutes—to learn each week. You’ll remember more if you learn a little bit each day and apply what you’ve learned, rather than try to take in too much information all at once.

For example, short videos are a great way to learn quickly. Our Get Started YouTube playlist offers a shortlist of videos on fundraising and proposal writing—all under three minutes.

Another quick way to pick up practical tips is to browse Candid’s knowledge base, which provides answers to hundreds of questions. Our team of librarians has curated responses to the questions we hear most from nonprofits. Fundraising-related entries include “How do I find grants for my nonprofit?” and “What information should be in a gift acknowledgement letter? Where can I find samples?

Here’s a useful idea from behavioral economics: The easier a task is, the more likely we are to do it. Create opportunities to learn in the online spaces you already frequent. For example, follow Candid on LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram to get quick tips from a range of fundraising experts. You can also subscribe to the Candid newsletter and the Candid Learning newsletter to get fundraising tips delivered straight into your inbox.

Learn at your own pace, even without a budget

Even with a budget of $0, you can build your fundraising skills by learning online. We offer a wide variety of free training resources on fundraising topics, including live webinars as well as on-demand courses. For example, you can either attend a webinar or enroll in a self-paced online course on finding grants to learn about different types of foundations, what motivates them to give, and how you can start researching funders who are likely to be interested in your nonprofit’s mission and work. Once you’re ready to write a grant proposal, check out free eLearning courses such as Introduction to proposal writing or, for more step-by-step guidance, delve into Crafting compelling grant proposals.

Beyond the short videos mentioned above, Candid has a wealth of in-depth videos for those who want to dedicate more time to specific topics. Video topics range from Transform Your Board’s Fundraising in 90 Days to Leveraging community assets to enhance your nonprofit’s impact.

However, if in-person learning is more your style, visit your nearest Candid community location—libraries and nonprofit resource centers that partner with Candid to offer our tools and services at no charge to their communities. These locations provide some of Candid’s in-person trainings, along with access to tools and resources.

And if you prefer books, check out Candid’s library of ebooks and audiobooks. It offers collections on Individual Giving, Fundraising, Grants & Proposal Writing, and Corporate Giving.

Tap into the power of collaborative learning

Social learning, or observational learning, proposes that we learn by observing others, a process that that can foster increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety in educational settings. The simplest way to participate in social or collaborative learning is to find a learning buddy among your colleagues. Begin by deciding on clear objectives and establish a routine for regular check-ins to share insights and track your progress.

For example, consider signing up for one of our webinars and treating it as a “lunch and learn” with a colleague. You can view the webinar together and compare notes afterward. If you can’t find a webinar that works for your schedule, consider a pre-recorded webinar from our “Recent webinars” playlist.

Another way to learn collaboratively is to form a “book-ish club.” Instead of having everyone read the same book at the same time, invite participants to find and share resources on a given topic that works best for them. One colleague might check out a book from Candid’s library, while another might only have time to watch a short video and share out.

With the strategies we’ve shared—from engaging with bite-sized learning content available on social media to deep dives into Candid’s on-demand professional development courses—learning doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive or time-consuming. It’s all about being intentional with your time and resources, consistent in your efforts, and open to learning in various formats. Remember that each step, no matter how small, is progress. Find what works best for you, make the most of the resources at hand, and let your fundraising skills evolve.

(Photo credit: Kateryna Onyshchu via Getty Images)


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