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Nancy Bacon Consulting

July 2020

A monthly resource exploring ideas and resources at the intersection of learning, leadership, and nonprofits.  

Summer is a time when we step out of our day-to-day and reflect about how things went and how they might go in the future. We look at the mountain tops of our work and see how they connect. I've been thinking a lot about learning and nonprofits as I participate in the global online Learning and Development Conference. This month I share with you some of my take-aways and how they apply to helping awesome nonprofit and public sector people learn what they need to succeed.

A story makes meaning.

If I had a dime for every time I saw “storytelling” mentioned in a nonprofit context, I would be staycationing this summer with a white wine lawn fountain and drone-delivered truffles. My favorite nonprofits would be returning their PPP money faster than Shake Shack. Suffice to say, storytelling is a common (and important) topic when it comes to raising money and building a movement.

Story is also at the core of teaching and learning. A story makes meaning. It helps our minds make sense of the world and information being put in front of us. Our brains are programmed to know what happens in a story—setting, protagonist, struggle, resolution—so we have places to put information as we receive it. Creating this kind of order reduces our cognitive overload and increases memory. Whatever we are working on, there is a story that connects the dots.

Read more + see examples
Better ways to think about "best practice"

Solutions depend on context. The concept of “best practice” is flawed.

A quick Google search of “nonprofit best practice” yields collections of resources from our sector’s leading providers of quality resources. When nonprofit board chair or Executive Director calls or attends a training, they regularly ask what “best practice” is on any given topic: leadership, finance, or fundraising. These are questions worth considering, yet the answers don’t always satisfy because they come up against reality or simplify complicated circumstances. Solutions depend on context. The concept of “best practice” is flawed.

The Cynefin Framework offers us a helpful alternative.

Read more
Great resource!
"The little book of Virtual Classrooms"

My colleague JoAnn and I have been busy running various forms of "How to teach online" sessions for nonprofits and associations. Imagine my delight when this sweet guide dropped into my inbox. One page per topic, easy checklists, and fantastic quick tips. Enjoy this free download from the UK-based Charity Learning Consortium. 

Download "The little book of Virtual Classrooms"
Other resources

Here are some other resources to know about and share. 

Nonprofit Radio Show

The Nonprofit Radio Show offers bite-size, practical information to help nonprofits thrive. Co-hosted by Nancy Bacon, Sarah Brooks, and JoAnn Crabtree, the Radio Show celebrates the small nonprofits that serve our diverse communities. We have six episodes available now! Check them out! 

Subscribe today to receive our regular episodes.

"Train the trainer" classes

Are you leading meetings or trainings online? Are you wondering how to make the most of Zoom tools and engage people in the lesson or conversation? We are leading sessions for nonprofits and associations. Reach out if we can help.

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Thank you for all you do!
Nancy Bacon Consulting

Our mission is to revolutionize the role that learning plays in the nonprofit sector. 

Seattle, WA
United States

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