One of the greatest investments any professional can make is learning to do what they do better. Whether more effectively, efficiently, or simply with more enjoyment…professional development helps nonprofit professionals amplify their impact. Listen to the full episode to hear Tony and Katie discuss everything from board professional development to finding time when you’re drowning in the day-to-day.
Katie and Tony talk about how the sector seems divided by those who love what they do and will do anything to do it better, and those who struggle to find the time or interest. While some of this split is due to time, Tony is careful to point out that we control our schedules as individuals. Nonprofit leaders must intentionally prioritize professional development. This will set the bar for their team and also continuously improve their own work.
The matter of ego is also an unfortunate reason more nonprofit leaders don’t pursue professional development. We all know the guy or gal that is above any training where they’re not the teacher. Too often, this attitude is prevalent in the higher ranks of nonprofit leadership, including at the board level. Katie and Tony candidly discuss how unfortunate this is as the lack of humility in this perspective not only hurts the nonprofit’s reputation, it is notably “off-brand” for any organization that aims to do good.
If you feel like you’re beyond professional development or beyond getting better, you’re lacking the humility necessary for the work you do.
While multitasking has been dubbed a cardinal sin for professionals, there are times when it makes sense. Listening to a podcast or even the audio of a webinar while you commute or clean? Brilliant. Be sure to include some designated development time, too. If you attend a nonprofit professional development conference (ahem…Cause Camp), you’ll likely gain more from the in-person experience because of the time away from your daily work distractions. The same applies to webinars or classes. Making time to “get away” from it all is crucial to keeping your sanity and your savvy in the nonprofit sector.
One of the areas of professional development that stretches us the greatest is leaving our comfort zone— whether that be our community, industry, or mindset. Those who network outside their geographic region and service type often find solutions they would have otherwise never came across. Technology, process, collaboration and customs vary widely throughout the world and even in the U.S. Stretching yourself to experience and engage with causes outside your area is one of the most enriching forms of professional development to pursue.
Tony Beall (he/him/his) is the Sr. Director, Office of Program Administration at National University. He is a trusted and award-winning social enterprise leader celebrating over 21 years of diverse nonprofit experience. Through his work, he’s served organizations all across the United States and also internationally.
In 2010, Tony realized a vision and launched Mister Nonprofit Consultancy, Inc., a consulting firm focused on social change through the regional and global development of social enterprise. It is through his work as “Mister Nonprofit” that he connected with the Institute of Philanthropy at National University as a South Florida regional trainer. Tony then joined the Institute’s national training cadre in the summer of 2018. In addition, he began serving as the Institutes National Director in 2019. He most recently accepted an invitation to serve as the Sr. Director, Office of Program Administration at NUS, overseeing Harmony SEL, Inspire Teaching & Learning and the rebranded Fundraising Academy.
Tony’s stellar reputation is the result of an undeniable passion for social change, proven creative strategies, and uncompromising commitment to excellence. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
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