Creating a Training Plan

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If your organization is going to provide ongoing training, it’s a good practice to create a training plan. This includes establishing a set schedule with date, time, location, and topic for each training provided over the course of a specific time period, such as a month, season, or year. You can then use the training plan to market and advertise your training opportunities. This will also allow potential participants to plan according to their needs. To create your plan, think through your general approach. What is important to you about how training is conducted? What are some of the constraints you must live within? What standards do you want for the training that’s offered? The key steps for creating your training plan are to assess community needs, prioritize the need areas, and create the plan.

The first step in creating a training plan is to assess community needs.

Training is an efficient venue to present widely needed information to many people at one time. When determining what training to provide, it’s essential to know what needs exist across the community. The needs that are common across many organizations are the topics that are best covered through training.

There are several ways to determine the needs in the community. If you are providing technical assistance in the geographic area, you’re likely to have several organizational assessments to draw from to determine the common needs. You can also identify needs by sending a community-wide survey to nonprofit executives. Or you might conduct informal conversations with nonprofit leaders and review available reports. A combination of all of these tactics will yield the most accurate results.

This information can help you find online survey tools to assess training needs.

Click this link to access an article on survey tools.

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The second step in creating a training plan is to prioritize training needs.

After the community assessment, you should have identified a list of training topics needed by the nonprofits in your community. Most of the time, the list of potential topics will exceed the number of training opportunities available. Start with the following questions to prioritize your list of topics:

  • What percentage of nonprofits requested the topic?
  • Which topics appear to be the most critical and important for building the capacity of nonprofits in your area?
  • In what areas are leaders most eager for help?
  • Based on the political and/or economic environment, are any of the topics likely to increase in priority by the end of your training “season?"
  • Are the needs within that topic fairly consistent across many organizations?
  • Can the topic be addressed in a group training environment or does the support need to be customized to the organization?
  • What other trainings are being provided within the community?

Once you’ve created a prioritized list, determine whether each topic can be covered within a single training. For example, if the topic “financial management” made it to the top of the list, you might determine that it needs to be addressed with a series of trainings. But if you know that the primary need within the topic of financial management is creating a budget, you might decide to meet that need with a single training session. By drilling the topics down to single trainings before moving to the next step, you’ll facilitate the process of creating your plan.

The final step is to create the plan based on information gained in prior steps.

When you commit your training plan to paper, you’ll include information such as the tentative or finalized dates, length of each training, topic of each training, and possibly the location and facilitator of each training. As you schedule trainings, ensure that you consider the days and times that work best for the nonprofit leaders in your community. This might also be a good time to consider whether in-person training or virtual training is best, given the geographic area, topic, and budget.

Review the draft plan to ensure that it provides variety related to the subject matter, knowledge levels, methods of delivery, and other factors you’d like to vary through the training series. Consider showing the plan to a few nonprofit leaders in your target audience to get feedback.

This training plan template will help you record key elements of your plan.

Download this training plan template to record your training plan details.

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