Short on Time, Big on Impact: The Demand for Micro-Learning in Nonprofits

December 20, 2017Rebecca Petersen

Outside of funding, perhaps the most precious resource in any nonprofit is time. A typical nonprofit professional can juggle two to three roles, and are tasked with completing projects with minimal administrative support.  This is particularly true for anyone new to the sector or working at a small to mid-size nonprofit.

On, many of our learners fit this exact profile. They discover our no-cost portal because they need just-in-time learning resources to quickly solve a problem, complete a project, navigate a difficult situation. I call this our “Go Factor” criteria when it comes to finding or developing new content that will resonate with our learners.

In response to the demand for actionable and succinct learning resources, we devoted time in 2017 to sourcing and developing new micro-learning resources for NonprofitReady. Some of our most popular micro-learning resources include topics on self-management and personal effectiveness and explainer style videos on the fundamentals of nonprofit finance and budgets. Since implementing more micro-learning seven months ago, we have seen a significant increase in return engagement on the portal as compared to previous years. This finding is in sync with Josh Bersin’s findings about the “explosive growth” of micro-learning across all sectors.

This year our Foundation's learning strategy and engagement team developed a custom micro-learning series with nonprofit expert and training consultant Beth Kanter. The series focused on technology-induced stress and burnout related to her recent work on building happy and healthy nonprofits. Beth is an accomplished teacher, delivering on-ground and traditional long-form online courses for over 20 years. As we began our work with Beth, she thought long, intensive courses were the most effective way to deliver impactful learning. After working with our team in developing her first-ever micro-learning series, Beth reflected on her experience and shared that “Micro-learning has become more important because the way we work has dramatically changed. We work in an information jungle, spending a lot of time seeking and looking for information and we are constantly facing a deluge of information, emails, texts, and more.” 

Our goal at NonprofitReady is to help our social sector organizations cut through that jungle of resources and bring to the forefront thoughtful and actionable content that will help nonprofit professionals deliver big impact, even when faced with a scarcity of time for professional learning.

About Rebecca Petersen

As Director of, Rebecca is responsible for the strategy, development, and outreach to support this... more


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