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Making the Case for Training & Development from Funders: 6 Keys to Nonprofit Growth

A chalkboard that says Never Stop Learning next to a stack of notebooks and books
Charlie Imbergamo

Dear funders: Nonprofits need your support to include human capital needs.

At least, that’s what the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s most recent report confirmed. State of Nonprofits in 2023: What Funders Need to Know revealed the top concern among nonprofit executives is staff-related issues, including burnout, filling staff positions and retaining staff.

Despite nonprofits’ current concerns with hiring and retention, compensation and pay equity, and capacity shortages and burnout, they also offered potential solutions to address these challenges. Among the solutions — increased organizational capacity building and professional development, specifically strategic planning, development and skills training.

6 Reasons Funders Should Invest in Nonprofit Training & Development

As a nonprofit that exists to support the capacity, growth and success of other nonprofits, the Nonprofit Leadership Center believes leadership and lifelong learning are inextricably linked. Training and talent development are critical for every nonprofit’s success and sustainability.

But how do you convince a funder to invest in increased organizational capacity and professional development? Use these six outcomes in your next grant request or funder conversation to make the case for more training and development support.

1. Enhanced Organizational Effectiveness

Training and development programs equip nonprofit leaders at every level of the organization with the necessary skills, knowledge and tools to perform their roles effectively. By investing in training, organizations can improve their efficiency, productivity and performance — and retain their best people. Well-trained team members are more likely to make informed decisions, adapt to changing circumstances, and deliver high-quality services to their beneficiaries and our communities.

READ NEXT: Beyond Employee Training: How to Create a Learning Culture

2. Improved Leadership and Management

Nonprofit leaders are vital in guiding their organizations toward achieving their missions. Funding support for training and development enables leaders to enhance their strategic planning, financial management, fundraising and board governance skills. Strong leadership and management capabilities contribute to organizational stability, growth and long-term impact.

3. Increased Innovation and Adaptability

The nonprofit sector operates in a dynamic and ever-changing environment. To address emerging challenges and seize new opportunities, organizations must foster a culture of innovation and adaptability. Training and development programs can help team members develop creative problem-solving skills, embrace new technologies/systems/processes, and stay current on the latest trends and leading practices in their respective fields.

4. Enhanced Fundraising and Resource Development

Nonprofits rely on fundraising to support their programs and initiatives. Training in fundraising techniques, donor stewardship and grant writing can significantly enhance an organization’s ability to secure funding from diverse sources. By investing in training and development, funders can help nonprofits build sustainable revenue streams and reduce their dependence on limited funding sources.

5. Stronger Governance and Board Effectiveness

Nonprofit boards are critical in providing oversight, strategic guidance and accountability. Funding support for training and development can empower board members to fulfill their responsibilities effectively. Training programs can cover topics such as governance best practices, legal and ethical obligations, financial oversight, and board-staff relations, ensuring that boards are well-equipped to support and advance the organization’s mission.

6. Increased Collaboration and Collective Impact

Nonprofits often work collaboratively with other organizations, government agencies and community stakeholders to address complex social issues. Training and development programs can foster skills such as negotiation, communication and partnership building, enabling nonprofits to form effective collaborations and achieve greater collective impact.

By investing in training, funders and individuals can support nonprofits in building strong networks and maximizing their collaborative efforts. 

Funding support for training and development in the nonprofit sector is essential for its long-term success and sustainability — ultimately leading to positive social change and stronger communities. That’s a case worth making.

Explore Upcoming Nonprofit Training Events

The Nonprofit Leadership Center offers hundreds of learning experiences each year for nonprofit leaders at every level, from seasoned CEOs to new professionals just starting out.

Explore our upcoming classes and certificate programs.

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Charlie Imbergamo


A committed lifelong learner and a genuinely curious people-person, Charlie Imbergamo has 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily serving in the education and pastoral ministry fields before transitioning to a career in capacity building, training and development. He was appointed the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s CEO in July 2023 after serving as director of strategic programs.

Before joining the Nonprofit Leadership Center, Charlie served as the founding president and CEO of the first Cristo Rey Network School in Florida, a college preparatory high school and corporate work-study program for underrepresented youth in East Tampa. Charlie has served in several executive leadership roles and on various boards of directors in New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida. He volunteers for various organizations around the community, serves on his HOA board, and currently serves on the BayCare Behavioral Health Board.

Photo of Charlie Imbergamo from the waist up, a white male wearing a navy blue suit jacket and green tie with grey hair and a beard

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