Training and consulting customized to meet your needs

Below are descriptions of our most popular training topics. Organizations can also create their own customized training sessions by combining elements from any of these topics — or any of our consulting services — to meet their specific needs.

All training sessions are available on-site or remotely. For more information on how to arrange a training session, please contact us.

We also conduct occasional regional workshops, which are generalized presentations on our most requested training topics, throughout the year. For a list of upcoming workshops, visit our News and Events page.


Developing a Strategic Plan for Your Organization

Strategic planning is a powerful management tool that can help organizations focus their resources, establish priorities, create action plans, and respond to change. This popular workshop provides tools for developing and implementing a strategic plan that can strengthen your organization’s effectiveness.

Topics include:

  • Who should be involved in developing a strategic plan and how to obtain their input
  • Reviewing / updating your organization’s mission and vision
  • Setting major organizational goals and creating strategies to turn them into action
  • Using a strategic plan to steer and manage an organization
  • Maintaining your strategic plan and keeping it relevant

Note: This one-day workshop will not create a strategic plan for your organization, which generally takes 2–4 days. Instead, it explains the steps and processes involved in doing so.

Program Planning Using Logic Models

Understanding how grantmakers, collaborative partners, and even your stakeholders will evaluate a project proposal is essential to winning their support. This workshop offers a step-by-step process that can help your organization outline and plan programs — and develop successful strategies to demonstrate why they merit support — using an assessment tool known as a “logic model”. Most logic models start with the intended outcomes in mind, and include common elements for program design, evaluation, and required resources.

Participants will learn to:

  • Share expectations within your organization, and facilitate conversations about a program’s intent, goals, and anticipated outcomes with potential partners and funders
  • Outline the activities and methods required to produce a program’s proposed outcomes
  • Create a proactive plan for tracking, measuring, and evaluating a program
  • Determine costs-per-outcome in order to explain and promote a program’s results in grant applications, funding appeals, annual reports, marketing materials, etc.
  • Prepare information commonly requested in grant applications and proposals

Building Budgets

This “math-free” workshop will help your organization plan and create operating and program budgets, with a focus on the role of budgets in funding proposals and applications. Participants receive templates in Microsoft Word and Excel formats to help them develop budgets.

Topics include:

  • Developing budgets that accurately portray your organization and its programs
  • Methods of sharing costs among programs
  • Prorating expenses between administration and program costs
  • Placing fair value on in-kind contributions and services
  • Using “cost per outcome” scenarios to generate requests for funding
  • Tips for formatting and presenting budgets in proposals and applications for funding

Read testimonials from planning clients and workshop participants.

Fund Development

Preparing to Write Grants

This popular workshop is an excellent way for administrators, program directors and staff, and board members and volunteers to gain a general understanding of the many elements required for successful grant writing. Equal attention is given to the needs and interests of your organization and grantmakers. Participants receive templates in Microsoft Word and Excel formats to help them develop grant proposals, and a certificate of completion.

Topics include:

  • Researching and identifying grant opportunities
  • Approaching and developing relationships with grantmakers prior to applying
  • Planning programs and budgets before writing grants
  • Preparing information and materials typically required in grant applications
  • Tracking and following-up grant applications after they are submitted

Researching and Approaching Grantmakers

Once you’ve identified a foundation, corporation, or government grantmaker that seems to be a good fit for your organization, one of the most important steps before you submit a grant application is approaching and establishing a partnership with a grantmaker. This workshop will explain how to first research and find grantmakers, then how to introduce your organization and its needs to the grantmaker, and how to ask for their guidance (and, in some cases, permission) before applying.

Topics include:

  • Sources and methods for researching grantmakers
  • Preparing and submitting letters of introduction and inquiry
  • Approaching grantmakers by telephone
  • Meeting with a grantmaker and successful site visits
  • Asking for guidance before applying

Getting Started with Major Gifts

Major gifts are the least expensive way to raise charitable dollars, and one of the most fulfilling for donors. Major-gift fundraising is about building relationships, involving prospects and donors in your organization, and collaborating to find solutions to today’s pressing issues. Whether you’re an emerging fundraiser with some responsibility for larger gifts or an experienced development professional newly tasked with them, finding time and knowing where to start are often the biggest obstacles to raising major gifts.

Topics include:

  • Determining what constitutes a major gift at your organization
  • Identifying and qualifying major gift prospects
  • Soliciting a major gift
  • Stewarding major gift donors
  • Building the donor pipeline
  • Measuring success

Note: This training assumes participants have previous experience in direct mail and / or event solicitation.

Read testimonials from grant writing clients and workshop participants


Step Zero: Essential Elements of Mission-Driven Communications

This foundational three-hour workshop provides non-profit organizations with an overview of the basic ideas, tools, and techniques they need to communicate their mission and goals to their key audiences, using different media.

Topics include:

  • Using your organization’s mission and goals to identify your audience(s)
  • Differentiating direct, indirect, and ancillary audiences
  • Analyzing demographics and culture to determine how to reach different audiences
  • Synthesizing mission, audience, and medium into a cogent and compelling message
  • Communications tools — digital platforms, printed materials, and the media

Exercises include relating intermediate goals to audiences, crafting messages, choosing the most effective platforms to deliver them, and (with attendee participation) communications “makeovers”. Participants are encouraged to bring current communications projects and ask questions related to those projects. Note: This workshop is recommended as a prerequisite for our Media Relations training below.

Media Relations: Working with journalists to improve your outreach

This practical workshop teaches participants to target and develop their interactions with a variety of news outlets, use an understanding of media processes and culture to develop story ideas and turn them into press releases, and then pitch those stories effectively to increase media coverage of their issues, methods, and goals.

Topics include:

  • Identifying relevant media contacts and creating a “database” to help target them
  • Initiating, developing, and maintaining relationships with media contacts
  • Devising news and “feature” stories about your organization’s issues and related activities
  • Crafting a news release that increases the chance of getting your stories and issues covered
  • Choosing the right “hook” and pitching your news release along with cogent collateral materials

Exercises include analyzing media platform characteristics and tailoring messages to them, developing message language and imagery, and outlining news releases and pitches. Participants are encouraged to bring current communications projects with them and to ask questions related to their projects. Note: The Mission-Driven Communications workshop (see above) is recommended as a prerequisite for this training.

New! Show and Tell: Story Development and Promotion

Nonprofit Work’s newest communications-related training covers the art and science of developing news and feature stories that can help your organization deliver its messages and achieve its goals, and writing targeted press releases that will help those stories get covered in various types of media.

Topics include:

  • Using stories to engage audiences and deliver messages and related information
  • Identifying compelling story ideas within your mission, methods, programs, and constituents
  • Developing news- / feature-story frameworks that resonate with audiences and the media
  • Writing press releases that encourage the media to cover your issues as they should
  • Choosing stories to pitch to different media outlets, and how and when to pitch them

Includes resource materials to help structure stories, and a Q&A session. Participants are encouraged to bring potential story ideas, program goals, or other communications projects with them and ask questions related to their work. (Note: The Mission-Driven Communications training above is recommended as a good preparation for this workshop.)

Read testimonials from communication clients and workshop participants.

Board Training

Building an Effective Board of Directors

Most nonprofit boards of directors focus on helping their organizations be more effective, but few give the same attention to how the board itself could do its job better. A truly effective board understands its role and responsibilities in the context of the entire organization, and monitors and improves its own performance on a regular basis. Those that do so find it actually makes their jobs easier.

Topics include:

  • Assessing your board’s needs and recruiting new members
  • Responsibilities and expectations of board members
  • Using a “job description” as a means of guiding your board
  • Structuring relationships between the board, committees, and staff
  • Using committees to do the work of the board

Read testimonials from board training clients and workshop participants.