Do you have a professional development plan? If yes, is the plan something you have created for your own career development? Or, are your professional development pursuits supported by your employer? Marketing communications is a fast-paced, ever-changing field, so dedicating time to professional development is essential – but how do you do it?

Developing our skills and expertise strengthens our capacity to communicate. When working with limited resources, having the right skills and expertise can mean being better equipped to know:

  • Where to deploy limited resources
  • What new ideas are worth pursuing, and
  • How to best leverage existing assets, like your content

What are your favourite sources of continuing education?

When it comes to learning opportunities, the challenge for nonprofit communicators certainly isn’t the availability of information. There is a true wealth of learning resources (many of them free of charge) available to nonprofit communicators, including:

  • Books
  • Courses
  • Online communities like ours
  • Webinars
  • Events and conferences (both in person and online)
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts

It can be overwhelming. Where to begin? Which sources are best for your learning style? Who are the most reputable publishers and experts?

How do you find the time for professional development?

The availability of time can affect just how much learning we can fit in. How do you fit learning into your schedule? Do you make a firm plan – a  commitment – and then work around it? How much time do you dedicate each day, week or month to updating and upgrading your skills? At what frequency do you fit learning into your schedule?

How do you finance your learning?

How do you pay for the books you read, courses you take and conferences you attend? Do you wait for your employer to cover any professional development costs? Or do you see learning as something in which you must make a personal investment for the sake of your own career?

What are you most interested in learning about?

WHAT is your focus?

  • Nonprofit marcom?
  • Marketing or communications in general?
  • Personal growth?
  • Strategic thinking?
  • Business in general?
  • More specific skills development like content marketing, social media, presentation skills, or copywriting?
  • Something totally unexpected?

How do you ensure that you apply what you learn?

Once you’ve figured out a plan and made the investment of time and money in your professional development, how do you ensure it’s put to good use? Do you have a system for applying what you learn? Do you put a hold on future learning until you’ve been able to apply your last training?

Join the conversation during January’s #NPMC Twitter Chat

Keeping on top of the latest marketing communications trends isn’t easy and neither is making an investment in your own career and personal development. So let’s learn from each other: what’s working, what are your favourite resources and how do you fit professional development in?

Please join the #NPMC chat on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. E.T. to share your professional development challenges and get ideas from community members on how to overcome them. If this chat is anything like our other #NPMC chats to date, you’ll plug in to all kinds of specific help and insights from your peers!

Because links can be hard to follow during our fast-moving chat, please feel free to start the conversation now, by sharing any favourite resources or tips in the comments below!

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira