“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” - Benjamin Franklin
When the Oklahoma City chapter of YNPN was first forming in the fall of 2012, the startup committee volunteers weren’t sure what it would eventually look like. Each chapter can make their own choices about programming, tax-exempt status, funding sources, and membership requirements. We got inspiration from other chapters, but we knew we’d need to forge our own path. (If you’d like to learn more about our relationship with YNPN National, review this slideshow.)
The startup committee decided that we wanted to start building our network as soon as possible and then let that network direct our growth. We felt that OKC was ready for this new resource and we were right. Our first social event was held just 16 months ago on March 4, 2013. Thirty-five people showed up and we knew we were on our way! That September, we were promoted from ‘startup’ to official active chapter status.Read more
There are a variety of learning opportunities for nonprofit professionals in Oklahoma but some are more affordable than others. On the higher end, there are college courses, certificates, and degrees in nonprofit management. You can find a list on our resource page.
In addition to learning more about best practices in nonprofit administration, you will also make valuable local connections through your professors and guest lecturers. If you don’t have the time or money for college courses right now, don’t worry! There are plenty of low-cost options:
YNPN of OKC events are always free and open to the public. Our networking events provide a great chance to meet others in the sector. Don’t forget to follow up with people you meet, especially if you have something to teach each other. Our professional development events touch on a variety of topics of interest to anyone who is in the first years of their career in nonprofits. Make sure you are on our mailing list so you don’t miss out on invitations. If you have an idea for a YNPN event or training, please let us know at YNPNofOKC@gmail.com.
The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits is known for its high-quality workshops at locations across the state. Topics include fundraising, marketing, board governance, program evaluation, and more.
You do not have to be a member to attend, but members enjoy discounts and other benefits. If the organization where you work is a current member (find out here), these benefits apply to you too, regardless of your position. Memberships are available to students for only $30 per year.
The Center offers scholarships for memberships and all trainings. Don’t let lack of funding stop you from a workshop you would really benefit from.
The Oklahoma Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals hosts educational luncheons on the second Wednesday of each month, typically at the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Rosser Education Center. Recent speaker topics include Writing for Fundraising Success, The Seven Deadly Sins of Nonprofit Communications, A Strong CEO/Development Officer Team: A Winning Combination for Fundraising Success, and Developing a Strategic Communications and Marketing Plan.
Non-members can attend for just $20, including lunch, if you register in advance.
The Intergenerational Computer Center at Oklahoma City University offers free computer access and training to the community. Learn about topics such as web design, presentations with Prezi, Quickbooks for nonprofits, and social media. Many classes are offered in the evening. Register online here.
If there is a conference you are interested in attending and you can’t afford the registration, offer to volunteer. You will gain valuable experience in event planning and get access to workshops and networking opportunities.
Significant local conferences include the biannual Sarkeys Southwest Regional Leadership Forum, the biannual Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Statewide Conference, the annual Oklahoma Arts Council Oklahoma Arts Conference, and the Oklahoma Museums Association Annual Fall Conference.
Final tip: Don’t forget to keep a record of the trainings you attend. It could be beneficial when negotiating a raise or interviewing for a new job. This record will also be useful when obtaining or maintaining a professional recognition such as Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) or Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA).
What other local, low-cost educational opportunities have you found? Tell us in the comments section below.