Many charities pay for training courses, but there's lots of free UK charity staff, management, volunteer and trustee training courses. Below are lots of links, including to free governance and safeguarding training courses. Plus, guidance on how to get the most out of training courses for trustees, volunteers and your staff and management.
Charities have very few resources, but one huge asset - our people. Supporting our management, staff, and trustees and other volunteers to develop is an investment, not a cost. But, we're all time poor and money's short. This article provides advice on how to get the most from your limited time and money, including links to a variety of free charity training courses.
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Here are some free charity training courses, including online, for volunteers and for charity management. I have included some courses that are paid for but these are provided by sister charities, so anything you do pay will be used for charity work.
Here are a whole range of ideas to offer training to your trustees, volunteers, staff and management.
Free or Low Cost Training Courses. Many organisations run free, or at least low-cost training. It's often management who attend, but it doesn't have to be.
Free Events & Seminars. Many of the commercial companies working in the sector run free events/seminars. I've recently been to seminars on innovation, social media, IP and contracts - all free. Try BDB and BWB for legal, or RSM and CCW for finance, amongst many others.
Free Online Learning. The Open University Open Learn programme has a whole series of free online training courses, of up to 8 weeks, including on the voluntary sector, finance and team working, with free participation statements. Or Kent University for more online courses, including fundraising.
Online training/videos. The CEF You Tube channel has 'How To' videos on a range of issues. All very short, all very practical.
The training opportunities above aside, the Charity Excellence You Tube channel has various playlists, including governance and strategy. You can use these to create your own trustee training and new trustee induction programme.
ICAEW's online training modules provide an overview of charity trustees’ legal and financial responsibilities and their strategic and operational considerations.
For an introduction to purpose, finance, conflicts of interest, decisions, support and safeguarding try the Charity Commission 5 minute guides.
|NSPCC Learning - Safeguarding & Child Protection
|Not free, but 36 online and face-to-face safeguarding training courses for anyone working or volunteering with children and young people. Delivered by an expert charity and we should all buy from our sister charities.
|PACE E Learning - Child Sexual Exploitation
|Parents Against Child Exploitation is a charity that has a free 20 minute e-learning course - an introduction to child sexual exploitation (CSE) - Understand child sexual exploitation, Find out how to spot the signs and Know who to report any concerns to.
|Virtual College - free online courses & e-learning
|Virtual College is a commercial company, but also has a range of free online training courses in subjects such as Safeguarding Children, Health and Well-Being and Careers Advice.
NCSC: cyber security for small organisations - free online training course.
Fundraising training courses can be expensive, but there a lot of fundraising training resources, courses and help available for free, or at very low cost.
We have our own weekly free training webinar programme and publish details plus training provided by our friends on a single page, giving you access to dozens of free courses and webinars on a wide range of subjects. So you don't miss out, upcoming training is included in our weekly newsletter sent to community members.
And we also have our fundraising training course resource, which has links to providers and lots of ideas to help you with your fundraising.
You don't need to know anything about fundraising to use the CEF and you'll learn and be given new ideas as you use it. The income questionnaire will lead you through the fundraising process and connect you to a wide range of resources and people who will help you. Everything is free.
Here are some Charity Excellence fundraising skills training resources:
We've little money or time, so spend a bit of time thinking about how to get the very best out of investing in your people.
For staff, it goes without saying that a structured appraisal and development process is essential to the above. It doesn't have to be time consuming or complicated, but you do have to make time to genuinely engage and listen to individuals, not just chat and fill the paperwork in. You'll find appraisal guides and templates in the CEF People questionnaire, if you need these.
We've too little funding and time, so focus your effort on where you will get most from that, by being clear on where your charity needs to invest most in developing skills and experience.
Everyone should have the opportunity to undertake development, but the funds and time available are limited. More importantly, people already have busy lives and not everyone wants to be a CEO. Mandatory training aside, make sure that what you're offering people is what they actually want, so everyone gets the most from it.
As part of this, review the individual’s performance in the light of his or her next year’s objectives, to identify any skill gaps or opportunities to develop.
Training courses, such as learning how to carry out risk assessments or use Excel, are useful for teaching people techniques. However, often what they need/want is as much about developing their experience as learning techniques. How to do it, rather than what to do.
Is usually less expensive than coaching and is often free. WCOMC offer Chair and CEO/Exec mentoring and, for small charities, there’s also the Cranfield Trust. If you're a social entrepreneur, try Expert Impact's Human Lending Library. I used them and they were brilliant. Or there's the Gunnercooke Foundation.
Then there's the Elisher Foundation for fundraisers. If you're in charity retail, the CRA have a mentoring platform and Charity Comms offer a mentoring service for their members. And, why not consider becoming a mentor yourself? I've gained at least as much myself, as I've given others. We all have a responsibility to help bring on the leaders and experts of tomorrow.
You know your people and charity really well, so why not do it yourself? It's very low cost, flexible and you might even be able to use it as team development at the same time?
I'm ex-Armed Forces and have often been surprised at just how hierarchical some charities are. Yet, it's not difficult to give people a real say in your charity and develop them at the same time.
In-house - Presentations. Invite a member of staff to present a paper, or talk about their work, at an exec/board level meeting, to give both him/her and them better insight into each other's work. It's also a good way to begin to improve diversity by getting young people, or individuals from a minority into a room of too often older, often white men like myself.
In-house - Meetings. Inviting them to attend a meeting for a different function, helps to expand their experience and break down/prevent silo working.
Learn ahead of the curve. If you have a new project, find an organisation that's further down the road, or already doing it well and arrange a visit, or to attend their project meetings. Learn good ideas and from their mistakes, rather than make them yourself.
Let Them Step-up. Give an individual a project to lead in an area in which they have a particular interest, allow him/her to chair meetings or participate in recruitment interviews. But, make sure it isn't just tokenism. Mentor them in their role and make sure that you actively engage and involve them during meetings/interviews.
And mentoring isn't telling someone what to do. It's about offering examples from your own experience, suggesting ideas and asking them questions to help them, but always allowing them to make their own decisions.
A registered charity ourselves, we provide 8 online health checks, the huge information hub, Quality Mark and 3 online directories.
Quick, simple and very effective.
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