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Need training for a full team? Consider a custom-made solution

There are a couple things you can do if you want to increase your nonprofit’s ability to achieve its mission. You can increase the number of people in your organization—which can mean significantly increasing your budget outlays—or you can increase the abilities of the people you have. The latter option is less expensive, but still tricky: To get training for all the board members or employees who need it, you have to find an existing class that works for them, hope there’s enough space left in the class to accommodate them, and, finally, get them all there.

Fortunately, there’s a better way: GCN’s Custom Courses program, an opportunity for nonprofits to secure full-team training specific to their needs.

Last year, the Junior League of DeKalb County welcomed a number of new board members without any previous board experience. To get them up to speed, President Suzanne Osborne contacted GCN to put together a custom course on board governance best practices, and deliver it on-site at the Junior League offices. The training lasted only a day, but Osborne said they are still reaping the benefits.

“The people who hadn’t served on a board before learned their duties, how to develop norms of behavior, and best practices for working together,” Osborne said. “Since then, we’ve been functioning really well together. Our board members are completing their tasks, and we’ve been accomplishing a lot of the things we set out to do earlier.”

Custom Courses work like this: Alongside the content experts at GCN's Nonprofit University, nonprofit leaders review and discuss the areas where they’d like help, and instructors design a curriculum based on those needs. New courses can be created to address challenges unique to the organization, or GCN can adapt an existing course from our Nonprofit University offerings. “It was a really simple and easy process,” said Osborne. “I even recommended it this year to our incoming president.”

Custom Courses are also mobile, deliverable to nonprofit offices, or other facilities, across the state. “Custom Courses help GCN support organizations throughout Georgia,” said Kidra Coulter, interim director for GCN’s Nonprofit University. “We love working in different communities.”

This past fall, Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah secured custom courses for some of their partner nonprofits, enriching their abilities in areas like board development.

“Gulfstream’s giving program encompasses more than funding support,” said Gulfstream Community Investment Consultant Miriam Hodesh. “The company’s volunteerism, in-kind donations, board participation, and workshops all strengthen our relationship with nonprofits. We have heard time and again how attending development courses is of great value to our community partners.”

Gulfstream invited the top folks from each of their agency partners to learn both from the instructor and from each other. “I like the fact that board members and agency representatives experienced the workshop together,” said Hodesh. “To see agencies open up and work together is so important. Folks collaborated and problem-solved, and we all learned more about the pulse of the community sector.”

Decatur Christian Towers ED Kyle Huhtanen is another custom course advocate, who reports that his organization has benefitted greatly from them: “We took the custom course, Becoming a Strategic Organization, and it inspired us to have our board take on the task of forming a strategic planning committee. That was a big help. I would’ve never predicted that we’d have come this far in a year.”

To learn more about custom courses from Nonprofit University, visit gcn.org/custom or contact our team at [email protected] or 678-916-3001.



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