Here’s one way to make your decisions about professional development a little less subjective

As a volunteer manager, it can be tough to justify enrolling in a higher-dollar but valuable-looking training. Sometimes, the price tag alone might scare a person away from investing.

There might be some guilt attached, too. After all, who are you to impact the budget with your training request – what about everyone else?

Or – you might consider investing out-of-pocket, and then resent your organization for not stepping up to expand your skill-base.

Or – you might feel it’s your duty to only attend free or low-cost trainings. If they don’t meet your needs, that’s ok. You’ll cobble together bits and pieces of knowledge and do the best you can with what you’ve got.

All of the above applied for me when I worked in nonprofits. Looking back, I wish I had looked at my professional development opportunities in a different way. I wish I had weighed what I was losing without the added training against the size of the investment.

More than that, I wish I’d had a tool to help me weigh my options. I wish I’d had some way to lay out all of the factors, evaluate them, and make a considered decision.

I didn’t have that kind of tool.

But now you do.

I’ve created a special worksheet that you can use whenever you are unsure about a professional development investment. It might be a training, a course, a degree program, or maybe just a webinar.

Whatever it is, this Professional Development ROI worksheet will give you more confidence in your final decision.

If you follow my Twenty Hats Facebook page, you may have seen my call for colleagues to beta test this worksheet.  Many of you offered to “test drive” the worksheet and give me feedback.  For those of you who beta-tested, thank you for your input – it’s reflected in the final version that’s ready to download now.

One beta tester used the worksheet to affirm her decision to pursue a coaching certification. Another tester found that the worksheet “caused me to think about these opportunities in a different way…the questions are good to articulate.”

Try out the worksheet. Use it the next time you are unsure about a professional development opportunity. If you find that the process simplifies your decision-making, let me know. The goal here is to take the second-guessing out of your professional growth.



Here’s a professional development opportunity you’ll want to explore: on June 9 in the DC-area, Rob Jackson and I are leading a day-long seminar. Hosted by NVAVA, it’s called Making Change Happen: Advanced Practices for Volunteer Managers. Click on the link for more details!