Peer-to-peer learning is generally a low-cost and low-effort way to share effective practices that yield high value within the nonprofit community. By creating a “clearinghouse” for effective practices, nonprofit organizations can function as a facilitator or organizer as well as a source of support for collaborations that promote learning and sharing among peers.
Nonprofit organizations can promote peer-to-peer learning in a number of ways, including:
- Searchable databases—One way to enable peer-to-peer learning is to create an online searchable database of practices where nonprofits can virtually share effective practices with their peers. To host an effective online database, ensure that posted practices meet a minimum standard of criteria; that practices maintain a recognized validation process; and that the database is searchable by sector, area of programmatic activity, and organizational operations.
- List serves—A list serve is an e-mail list that allows members to send messages to one another. A public list serve allows anyone on the public list to initiate communication with someone else. You can host a list serve that enables nonprofits to communicate with one another regarding effective practices and their adaptation, replication, and implementation.
- Face-to-face peer learning—There are many ways for nonprofits to facilitate face-to-face learning events within their communities. An organization might consider hosting peer learning groups where participants share ideas and experiences with best or promising practices, or to develop a team made up of members from nonprofit organizational representatives who have a vested interest in designing creative ways for sharing effective practices.