Part of accounting for nonprofits is ensuring that your accounting team participates in high-quality professional development activities. But short of attending graduate level classes and seminars at your local college or university, how can you find rigorous and challenging educational programs for your accounting and finance teams?
New technology makes it easier than ever before to find and participate in professional development sessions. You can also use this technology to offer seminars and professional development opportunities to to your members and constituents and to share educational seminars with coworkers who telecommute or work in other offices.
RBP Methods offers many live webinars focused on accounting for nonprofits. You can find the training schedule here. Coming up on May 16, we are offering a free webinar, Passing the Audit: No AJEs, PAJEs or Surprises. Not only is the webinar free, but you can also receive CPE credit.
Online Learning: Interactive Platforms
Online learning has come a long way from static forums and canned presentation. New, interactive, self-paced and self-guided learning systems react to the learner’s questions and interact with an intuitive interface that makes it feel as if you’re in the classroom itself. Many colleges and universities are offering advanced accounting for nonprofits courses as well as financial management courses. Some professional organizations are also exploring interactive platforms for their members.
This article shares not one but 25 free learning platforms to try. With so many choices, you’re bound to find one that you can use to share information and training for your own team—or to create dynamic and robust professional development opportunities for your organization’s members.
Live Streaming Video
Facebook Live is just one of many new live streaming video opportunities available. Organizations are using these tools to live stream classes and conference sessions to members who may not be able to travel to a conference but who wish to participate in the professional development opportunities.
Holding a live streaming session on Facebook or YouTube doesn’t just mean broadcasting and hoping for the best. You’ll need to actively promote the session daily for at least two weeks or more prior to the event and find a time that works for the majority of your members, taking into account time zone differences. You’ll also need to test the equipment to ensure that the live stream works well. It may take a few tries to get it right, but live streaming is really taking off as an opportunity for nonprofits to connect with their members and for companies to offer inexpensive professional development.
Virtual conferences have been part of the for-profit world for many years, with consultants and coaches often banding together to offer podcasts and videos for a set price. In this model, many people join forces to offer a one-hour course with packaged downloadable books, all available to subscribers for a set period and a flat fee. Such virtual conferences appeal to many people because they “get” something for their money (the ebooks) and can download podcasts to listen to later.
If you’re considering such a conference for professional development needs, look into buying a package that includes the downloadable podcasts. Some only allow access to the recorded materials for 30 days or so but offer an upgraded package that permits access at any time to those who purchase the upgrade.
As a nonprofit organization seeking to host such an event, consider the information that would appeal the most to your members. What do they want to learn? Then gather the most noted experts in the field and plan on hosting 15 to 30. Discuss in advance how you plan to share the email addresses you gather, how income will be distributed among participants, and what you’d like to achieve from the virtual conference. Plan on a separate website with sign ups and lots of marketing, usually through social media and advertising, to sell your virtual conference packages.
Technology Changing Accounting for Nonprofits
Technology is changing accounting for nonprofits and the professional development that enhances your accounting team’s skills. Virtual conferences, live streaming events, and interactive learning platforms are just some of the ways in which you can either participate in a virtual learning event or host one of your own.
RBP Methods helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We offer nonprofit software, consulting services and training. We’d love to talk to you about your accounting for nonprofit needs. Contact us today or call 503-648-9051.