This is the Blackbaud Community Best Practices blog.

TOOLKIT: Showing Your Team The Value Of Training


We’ve got some great feedback from our new Organizational Best Practices course releases (read the blog here). Let’s address some questions about how you can help your organization see the value of technical and professional development with Blackbaud University.

I've been interested in getting my team on board with the training subscription, but I can barely get them to take the time to watch the free videos we have access to. How do you make your coworkers take the time to educate themselves so you don't waste your training dollars?”

“One of the reasons I took my current job is for the educational opportunities. We have the training subscription and it is awesome. One of my challenges is getting other staff members to take advantage of the educational opportunities but so long as I can, I will.”

So, what do you do when you LOVE what the training has done for your technological and professional development, but the rest of your team isn’t on board yet? We’ve developed this toolkit for you!

Trillium Health Partners Foundation has 90% of its staff enrolled in Blackbaud University classes. In the first year of their Blackbaud University Learn® training subscription, 31 of the foundation’s staff completed 100% of their training.
How did they do it? The team got excited about this new training that was less labor-intensive, less time-consuming, and easier for team members to do on their own time. (Check out the full success story and share it with your team here.)

To encourage training, Bill Sanders, Vice President of Business Affairs and CFO of Kohl Children’s Museum, shows his staff blog posts that catch his eye. Here’s part of an email Bill sent to his staff last week:
Hello KCM Team – Remember when we did all the [Blackbaud] Altru training? It is hard to always find opportunities or time or resources for professional development. Here is a link to a blog. If you are interested, the museum is subscribed for this [Organizational Best Practices] training in order that you can be empowered and grow professionally.
How did Bill approach getting the team excited about training?
  • Because he’s an executive at his organization, the team members value his insight and advice. The email came from him personally, showing that he cares about the team’s professional development and wants them to succeed!
  • Bill reminded the team that this extra piece of training is available. Many times, team members forget which professional development tools they have. If you’re an executive member of your organization, take the time to get to know the training offerings you purchased and remind your team what’s available! Not an executive? Track one down and share this blog!
Kohl Children’s Museum is also incorporating Blackbaud University training into its onboarding program. (You’ve got to read this story!) The museum outlines specific courses that every staff member is suggested to take in onboarding, based on their roles and responsibilities. Additionally, they have developed a strategy around which courses all staff members should retake in the future. Tactically, this strategy is carried out through the museum’s database associate being thoughtful when it comes to every employee. She looks at an organization chart and asks “What classes would be beneficial for this team member?” Then she will visit that team member and encourage them to enroll. This approach has brought great success.
Why is this strategy vital for Kohl Children’s Museum? Up-to-date training is the best way to guarantee the longevity of your team. Assigning basic training during onboarding—and refreshers after a certain amount of time has passed—is an easy way to make sure your organization gets the most out of its training dollars. Think about assigning someone at your organization to lead team members to the most relevant training.

Do you get the Blackbaud University training newsletter? Not everyone at your organization does. These newsletters give you a quick glance at what’s going on with training for your Blackbaud products and any new course releases or updates. Share these newsletters with your team members to make sure they stay informed about what’s available to them!

Roger Berg, Donor Relations Analyst for Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri, makes a great point about getting the most for your training dollars:

"If you are a Blackbaud Champion you can earn points for various activities. Points can be redeemed for various things including—wait for it—Certification training and testing. I took my Certification tests (Fundamentals and Professional) for $0—I paid with points earned as a Champion!"

You can learn more about becoming a Champion here. Get your team earning points toward free training today! 
Does your whole team take advantage of your Learn® subscription? What do you do to get your team members to see the value of technical and professional development? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!
Posted by Brianna Weaver on May 9, 2018 1:44 PM America/New_York

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How do I subscribe to the training newsletter?
  • Posted Thu 10 May 2018 12:42 PM EDT
It has been a struggle, but with having NXT now, I have gotten my whole department onto training for NXT!   It took almost a year for them to fully commit! 
  • Posted Mon 14 May 2018 09:09 AM EDT
I am not sure if I am on the training newsletter subscription either
  • Posted Mon 14 May 2018 09:11 AM EDT
Hi all! If you are unsure if you are receiving your training newsletter, you can leave a message on my profile page with what training products you are subscribed to, and I can confirm or add you to the correct list :) 
  • Posted Mon 14 May 2018 10:33 AM EDT
Our staff has done the basic, required trainings based on their job family.  I like the idea of sharing the training newsletter with them so they can customize their own learning experience.  Where do I find that or how do I turn it on in my preferences?
  • Posted Tue 15 May 2018 02:01 PM EDT
Great info. Thanks Brianna!
  • Posted Sat 19 May 2018 12:09 PM EDT
Something to aspire to, thanks for sharing!
  • Posted Tue 29 May 2018 01:25 PM EDT
Nicely written, valuable points - thanks again!
  • Posted Wed 30 May 2018 12:21 PM EDT
No matter what we do, we still have some users that avoid training. We have others that are taking a more active role in training even finding webinars on their own.
  • Posted Fri 01 Jun 2018 02:41 PM EDT
I spend so much time using Blackbaud products, it seemed silly to not become a Champion. 
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 10:35 AM EDT
Several months ago, my Acting ED made it a requirement that all members of the team be RE Certified at the Fundamentals level by the end of June. As the database administrator, I'm excited to celebrate this feat and am looking forward to seeing the team get a fresh reminder of how important data is.
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 11:40 AM EDT
I don't think I'm subscribed to the training newsletter, but will try to do so now.  Thanks.
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 12:21 PM EDT
My Team(finance & data admin) is on board for Training & our board supports it, however our Prospect Team resists taking time to take the classes we subscribe to.  I think it's kind of the "I don't need instructions to do this" mentality.  Unfortunately, when they don't get the data or follow up they need it's the software's fault, not the user.
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 01:09 PM EDT
We have a Blackbaud University subscription. It's still hard to get people on board with training. My school was going to not renew the subscription. I was able to show the value just in the training I've done and we renewed. I wish more moderate to advanced level training would be offered for the "on" products. All the webinars seem to be for people who are brand/relatively new to the products.  
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 01:36 PM EDT
Great information.  We have the Learn subscription and are definitely not taking advantage.  I will retouch on this with my team and try to get them to start taking classes.
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 02:09 PM EDT
It is hard to show people the value of the training when they only see the training as what you need to become a Database Manager, instead of being the means to make them more knowledgable and the organization more efficient.
I will also say that It is telling how much the level of pushback is directly proportional to a coworkers level of expertise in the database. ;-)
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 04:19 PM EDT
Our team has really embraced training! We've encouraged all staff to work towards their RE certification, and now there's a certain amount of FOMO for those who aren't doing it!
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 07:12 PM EDT
I love the training subscription for myself and my other "advanced users" team, but it's a shame that so much of it is a little too advanced for my folks who could use it most - I wish there were some fill-in-the-blank take home guides for those of us who have to translate the Blackbaud University courses into "this is how we do it on our system". Because my users would get so much out of the courses - but not when they don't do data entry themselves or the constituent code systems are so different. On the other hand, taking the courses myself helps me strategize methods of teaching, and I definitely get a lot out of them! I'm looking forward to earning my Pro certification this year! :)
  • Posted Tue 05 Jun 2018 11:25 AM EDT
Training is definitely invaluable in getting everyone speaking the same database language, and in learning how to best support other members of your team by educating yourself on their areas of expertise.
  • Posted Tue 05 Jun 2018 01:37 PM EDT
Our organization purchased 2-3yrs worth of access to training. It was unfortunately too late for me since I started a year prior and had learned most on my own, but it is extremely beneficial for our new employees. I have them take all of the "Basics" courses and then move on to further knowledge if they're job requires it.
  • Posted Tue 05 Jun 2018 02:51 PM EDT
I always put in my annual goals a certain amount of professional development or training hours. Just knowing that it counts towards that for the year motivates me to complete trainings.
  • Posted Wed 06 Jun 2018 03:29 PM EDT
Thank you for the ideas.
  • Posted Thu 07 Jun 2018 07:07 PM EDT
Nice ideas
  • Posted Fri 08 Jun 2018 09:06 AM EDT
Awesome info!  Thanks for sharing Brianna!
  • Posted Fri 08 Jun 2018 09:58 AM EDT
Blackbaud university is a must for new on users! 
  • Posted Mon 11 Jun 2018 03:17 PM EDT
It is challenging to get my team engaged in training. As part of their individual goals we will be adding specific training classes for them to participate in. 
  • Posted Tue 12 Jun 2018 12:43 PM EDT
Thank you!  This is very helpful!
  • Posted Thu 14 Jun 2018 01:38 PM EDT
Great tips!! Bookmarking this page :)
  • Posted Thu 14 Jun 2018 04:36 PM EDT
Great information! Thanks!
  • Posted Mon 18 Jun 2018 10:41 AM EDT
This is a great article to encourage training to be part of our routine.
  • Posted Wed 20 Jun 2018 02:02 PM EDT
Thanks for the good ideas! I think I can also recommend training even though I'm not a leader on my team.

I've looked around Training Central some, but I don't see where to confirm our subscription status. Can anyone help me find where this info is?
  • Posted Fri 22 Jun 2018 09:26 AM EDT
Very insightful, thanks for sharing!
  • Posted Fri 22 Jun 2018 12:47 PM EDT
I'm going to work on integrating these strategies. I want to get my team involved with more training so they get more comfortable with using RE and NXT, but I have a hard time getting them to commit to just watching the free videos and trainings. My hope is I can get them to commit to regular training so we can invest in the training program to get everyone to a level of mastery.
  • Posted Fri 22 Jun 2018 12:49 PM EDT
Thank you for the great info!
  • Posted Fri 29 Jun 2018 12:36 PM EDT
Nice ideas!  Thank you
  • Posted Fri 29 Jun 2018 03:08 PM EDT
Yay! Love this; training helps make the most out of products!
  • Posted Tue 03 Jul 2018 12:45 PM EDT
Thank you for sharing!
  • Posted Wed 18 Jul 2018 11:28 AM EDT
I submit training as an agenda item about once a quarter for our team meetings. I love that we have a new team member who is diligent about training. 
  • Posted Mon 23 Jul 2018 11:48 AM EDT
so excited that we have a learn subscription and can't wait for the team to start taking advantage of it!
  • Posted Mon 23 Jul 2018 12:54 PM EDT
This is great information that a lot of clients don't think about holistically during implementations. Keep the info coming!
  • Posted Tue 24 Jul 2018 08:02 AM EDT
I greatly appreciate the success stories! It is difficult to get participants excited about training, especially when it takes time away from getting daily work complete.
  • Posted Sat 28 Jul 2018 04:04 PM EDT
Thanks for sharing. I'm trying to find a way to get others in my office on board with training. Some are great at participating in training and others say they don't have the time. With some of the new benchmarking options in NXT, I think I'll use that as a carrot to get them to sign up for some things.
  • Posted Wed 01 Aug 2018 04:56 PM EDT
I believe there is always a value in continuing education and anyone that says there's not....well they must just be dumb!  : )
  • Posted Tue 14 Aug 2018 04:20 PM EDT
Training is wonderful, it's getting the funds approved to pay for training that's tricky...
  • Posted Wed 15 Aug 2018 01:41 PM EDT
working on getting a plan set into place and used at my org! Thanks
  • Posted Thu 29 Nov 2018 11:32 AM EST
I appreciate this. I am trying to think of a way of gamifying the process to get some of the competitive juices flowing to trigger continued training.
  • Posted Tue 26 Mar 2019 11:31 AM EDT