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High performing nonprofit leaders have at least one thing in common: they invest in their education. No, not necessarily with money, but with their time and energy. The good news is that the nonprofit sector has plenty of amazing opportunities to access free, cutting-edge, professional development content. The bad news is that the nonprofit sector has an overabundance of product-specific sales pitches and lead capture mechanisms doubling as professional development content. Let us help you sort through the offerings, starting with the best free nonprofit webinars.
What Makes a Great Webinar?
These days, finding information on any topic isn’t too difficult. Today’s nonprofits have a record glut of content available to them and a deficit of time, and attending a webinar takes a lot of time. What does a nonprofit webinar have to do to be worth the time investment?
A high-quality webinar does a few things well:
-Gives unprecedented access to a respected nonprofit authority.
–Demonstrates new, useful concepts in an easy-to-learn format.
-Compresses a complex and dense field of information quickly.
The greatness of a webinar depends on the individual’s perspective and what you hope to gain from the session. We all learn in different ways so it’s important to find a teaching style that works for you. There are some standards we should all be meeting, however. Make sure the next free session you signed up for checks these boxes:
- Diverse audience + teachers
If you’re learning from and with the same group of people every time you watch a webinar, you’re missing out. Find webinars that are taught by a variety of subject matter experts and include peers from around the nation, if not the world.
- Experienced speaker
You can usually tell about 15 minutes into a webinar whether the presenter is comfortable teaching virtually and whether they know their stuff. Due to the one-directional nature of most webinars, even if you’re in with an incredible set of peers, your potential value gain is largely tied to the person presenting. Don’t hesitate to exit the session if you feel it’s not the highest or best use of your time.
- Not product focused
Don’t fall for a demo in disguise! The best way to avoid this is to ensure the provider is not backed by a single product or service. Ask questions ahead of time about what content will be covered and whether a demo will represent more than 15min of the allotted time.
- Great takeaways
A good webinar should leave you nodding and taking notes as if you were hearing the session live at a conference.
The Best Free Nonprofit Webinars
Webinar providers constantly rotate the webinars they offer for free throughout a given month in order to provide fresh material and make the most of their existing recordings. So instead of giving you specific webinars, we’ll give you a list of the best free nonprofit webinar providers.
You’ll have to check into these pages every month or so if you want to stay up-to-date on the best free educational material available. The nice thing is that once you register for a webinar, you’ll typically receive updates as the webinar’s date approaches.
To actually register for the nonprofit webinar, you’ll need to provide some courtesy information about who you are and what your organization does. This is standard practice for free webinars; you don’t have to worry about being emailed or solicited without your approval.
Without further ado, our list of some of the best free nonprofit webinars available on the web:
You’re already doing good, but we’ll help you move from good to growth. Nonprofit Hub webinars occur each Wednesday and are completely free. No product pitches, or follow up meeting shenanigans. Nonprofit Hub is actually a nonprofit organization, too. We specialize in curating top speakers on trending nonprofit topics.
If you rely on events as part of your fundraising portfolio, OneCause does an especially great job of covering trending as well as “new consideration” topics.
Frequent, high-quality educational material from a fundraising services provider. All webinars are free.
You can find a bunch of free nonprofit webinars here, as provided by the Foundation Center. Plenty of good content to check back for each month.
Wild Apricot not only hosts their own stellar webinars, but they also aggregate webinars each month to highlight what you can’t miss. Nonprofit Hub is proud of being a regular featured webinar host.
No Such Thing as Free
Webinars can run anywhere in the realm of 20 to 120 minutes but usually clock in at about an hour in length.
Keep in mind that even though you may not be paying for admission to a webinar, you’re investing your time. Time is the only non-renewable resource you have, so make sure you spend it wisely.
For a webinar to be worth your time, you need to evaluate it based on the above criteria.
Another reason you might choose to listen to a webinar would be if you want to jumpstart your learning with a quick, in-depth digest on a subject you’re interested in but haven’t invested much time yet.
Webinars have the benefits of being engaging and information-dense, meaning you will learn faster from a good webinar than you would by doing a Google search and reading articles at random.
Looking for a free nonprofit webinar just to see how these work?
Let us know in the comments below if you attend any of these webinars and learn any game-changers! Go sign up for one of our upcoming nonprofit webinars. It’ll give you a sense of how these webinar things function. Plus, you might even learn something new.
*Originally posted January 2013. Updated May 2017. Updated October 2021.