Back to News & Stories

How to Request Training from Your Boss

Nonprofit Leadership Center

You’re ready to grow your skills and career. You’ve found the perfect professional development opportunity. But you’re not sure how to request training from your boss. What if they think it is too expensive? What if they say no?

Most managers want team members who proactively seek personal and professional development, but asking your manager for training can feel awkward or intimidating. Nonprofit leaders who champion a culture of learning within their organizations share their top tips for how to request training from your boss and take the fear out of the process.

How to Request Training: Tips to Ask Your Manager

1. Raise your hand.

Freddy Williams, a Black man wearing a navy blue suit and blue tie

Freddy Williams, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast

Talent development is a business imperative, and most managers are typically looking for employees who are eager to grow. But knowing which employees are motivated to pursue such growth isn’t always apparent. Raise your hand to show your manager you want to grow personally and professionally.

As a CEO, I am consistently looking for the next generation of leaders to develop because with strong leaders comes a more effective, productive, efficient and motivated workforce that will drive business results and program impact. It is not a matter of resources to cover talent development costs; there is an opportunity cost to not investing in staff development.

2. Be mindful of your organization’s process and budget cycle.

Lisa Suprenand, a white woman with blond hair wearing a light blue tank top

Lisa Suprenand, CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities Tampa Bay

When you make a training request, first ensure you meet with the decision-maker. While your direct supervisor should be an important part of that conversation, your HR department may be responsible for coordinating or approving training requests. Understanding how your organization plans for training and the process will help you succeed.

Be mindful of your organization’s budget cycle and plan to ensure your training request can be included in the budget, especially if there’s a substantial cost.

Finally, when making a training request, share how your personal goals and the organization’s goals intersect and how the training will be mutually beneficial.

If your training request is denied, clarify the process for requesting professional development, state your interest to be considered for upcoming opportunities and keep the conversation open.

3. Elevate the ROI of your training request.

Rajendra Ramoon-Maharaj, a Black man wearing a black top and hat

Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Producing Artistic Director and Resident Playwright, American Stage Theatre Company

When asking your manager for training, be sure to present the benefit of the training to both you and your organization.

Kim Jowell, a white woman with brown hair wearing a red top

Kim Jowell, CEO, Pinellas Education Foundation

I always appreciate when a team member has done their research on a training opportunity and comes prepared to share why it is important to them and how it will benefit them and the organization.

4. Make a clear case.

Jennifer Yeagley, a white woman with brown hair wearing a red top

Jennifer Yeagley, CEO, St. Petersburg Free Clinic

Be specific about the details of your training request, such as the cost, location and timing, so your manager does not have to do any research on their own. Frame your training request, so it’s clear how the opportunity will enhance your performance and benefit your organization.

Here’s a sample of how to request training from your boss:

There’s a week-long grant writing training coming up. It costs $X and is remote. I’ve looked at my schedule, and I can meet all deadlines and participate in this opportunity with some advance planning. This training will help me strengthen my skills in grant research, grant budgeting and post-award support, all goals we identified for me this year. Investing in this development opportunity for me personally will also translate into a more efficient grant development process for our organization, allowing me to better support my colleagues while identifying new grant opportunities. This can all mean reduced costs and increased revenue for our organization.

As a supervisor, this would be a hard request to turn down, assuming your organization has a culture of employee development and a budget set aside for training.

Find Nonprofit Training

Now that you have the confidence to ask your manager for training, explore upcoming nonprofit training classes and certificate programs designed to strengthen your skills, organization and community.

Join our weekly e-newsletter to get exclusive tips, tools and trainings.

Share This Story:

How to Become a Leader Others Want to Follow

16 Rising Nonprofit Leaders in Hillsborough County Chosen for Prestigious Leadership Program

32 Rising Nonprofit Leaders Chosen for 2023 Certificate in Leadership