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Pro Bono Spotlight: Bob Cummins

April 08, 2014Alec Green

As part of National Volunteer Week, we are proud to recognize another member of our HR Pro Bono Corps.  Bob Cummins, founding partner of PeopleWorx, LLC joined the Corps in December 2013 and is close to completing the first of three phases of his first project.  Let’s find out more about Bob and his volunteer experience:

Tell us a little more about your background and how you got involved in the HR Pro Bono Corps.

I've been involved in leadership and talent development for a number of years as an independent consultant and internal OE resource. Bob Nutting introduced me to the HR Pro Bono Corps. He and I had worked together at Land O'Lakes, Inc. and stayed in touched over the years. As I moved back into independent consulting, Bob called to see if I would be interested in sharing some of my time and experience.

Since joining the HR Pro Bono Corps, what volunteer projects have you worked on?

Currently, we are supporting a fairly large nonprofit with 45 employees and a large volunteer staff.  One of their more pressing needs was in evaluating and improving their performance management process. As I got to know them a little better, I discovered they had a lot of tools in place, but really needed an outsider’s perspective to help them refine their strategic approach.  I’ve worked with the CEO and CFO to clarify their organizational goals and ensure there was clear ownership and measurable results.  Going forward, I will provide tools and templates to facilitate the goal setting and performance review process.  I’m working very closely with them during the design and development phase and will be on call with them during this first goal-setting and evaluation cycle.   While it is a much broader project than originally envisioned, I think will be far more impactful for both the organization and for me.

What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?

As with any client, working with them as they discover and implement each improvement is rewarding. Most organizations are understaffed and have high levels of ambition to improve processes yet few actually have enough bandwidth to make their vision come to life. Taking things one step at a time makes sure there is ongoing buy in and ownership of the issue and proposed solutions, assuring the implementation is manageable.

I have primarily worked with for-profit companies and this project is a great opportunity for me to refine the skills I have developed over my years in learning and performance management. It allows me to apply my experience in a new setting and to refine my approach for a new sector. 

What advice would you give to someone before volunteering their time in the HR Pro Bono Corps?

Take your time up front to make certain you understand the client's need and so the client fully understands their own need as well. Make sure what you think you are working on is, in fact, what the client thinks they want. Continually revisit this question to strengthen alignment. It is essential to help the client comprehend the commitment they are making by taking on the project.

It’s important to get an explicit commitment by the leaders of the organization to stay involved. Many projects require cross-functional engagement. The client's internal project owner is essential for success. That person’s ability to influence team members, to gain support and to communicate progress will make all the difference in the success of the project.

Make sure they are dedicating enough effort and resources to actually make it happen and lay out a project plan with milestones and deliverables that not only the volunteer will provide but also the client will deliver. 

Thank you Bob for your dedication to this project and continued support of the nonprofit sector.  If you are interested in learning more about the HR Pro Bono Corps, check out the six benefits of volunteering and sign up today!

About Alec Green

As Chief Marketing Evangelist, Alec Green is responsible for developing the overall marketing plan and strategy for the Foundation, executing all outbound communications, increasing visibility of the Foundation’s programs, and building engagement with our partners... more

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Cristobal Colon

April 08, 2014Alec Green

As part of National Volunteer Week, the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation is proud to recognize some esteemed members of our HR Pro Bono Corps for their vital contributions to the nonprofit community.

Today, we salute Cristobal Colón, an Implementation Consultant here at Cornerstone.  Cristobal joined the HR Pro Bono Corps in 2013 and brings a potent mix of deep technical expertise and nonprofit savvy to his volunteer engagements. With extensive hands-on experience in Learning, Performance, and Succession, Cristobal is a true pro bono triple threat.

Tell us a little more about your background and how you got involved in the HR Pro Bono Corps.

I have been in the Human Resource Development industry for almost 15 years.  The greatest aspect of working in this space is the involvement with helping people achieving their career goals.  Joining Cornerstone On Demand (CSOD) as an Implementation Consultant a year ago was yet another step in continuing to help others in my career. This time I get to help organizations achieve their talent management goals.  My desire to help others stems from a faith and passion that is a visible character trait in the community I serve.  Prior to joining the HR Pro Bono Corps, the extent of volunteerism in my life spanned involvement with individuals grieving a loss of a loved one, teaching children in small group settings to international outreach like Operation Christmas Child and mission trips to Cuba.  In all these situations, I leveraged manual labor and teaching skills that focused on the individual or community.  The HR Pro Bono Corps presented an opportunity to increase the spectrum of helping others into organizations that help others.  This is an exponential experience that allows me to leverage both the CSOD solution and my expertise in talent management to reach many who desire to improve their lives or help others through the organizations participating in the HR Pro Bono Corp program.  This was a natural step in my volunteerism walk.

Since joining the HR Pro Bono Corps, what volunteer projects have you worked on?

So far, my first and only HR Pro Bono Corps project is with Project Hope.  This organization is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves.  This project involves the integration of user data collected from the Project Hope website and loading it into the CSOD portal, creating new users that will use the portal for training. 

What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?

The most rewarding aspect of working in this new volunteerism channel is seeing the tangible change we can make in the operation process of the organization we are helping in a virtual setting.  I liken it to bringing relief or installing a water purification system in a developing country, but from the comfort of my desktop.  The HR Pro Bono Corps allows me to serve others as a interwoven thread in the fabric of my daily work life with results that are visible and the impact immediate. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in volunteering for the HR Pro Bono Corps?

For those considering joining the HR Pro Bono Corps, I say these volunteer opportunities require us to be engaged, proactive and diligent.  These organizations will be focusing mainly on accomplishing their mission so we have to be mindful to not let the volunteer project fall through the cracks.  Working remotely and not being in a live volunteer setting could distract us. Make it a priority and build it into your schedule. 

Do you have a few hours available to help a nonprofit improve their talent management processes?  Volunteer with the HR Pro Bono Corps and join our ever-growing community of HR professionals making a difference.

About Alec Green

As Chief Marketing Evangelist, Alec Green is responsible for developing the overall marketing plan and strategy for the Foundation, executing all outbound communications, increasing visibility of the Foundation’s programs, and building engagement with our partners... more

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Jennifer Pittman

April 07, 2014Alec Green

Welcome to the first day of National Volunteer Week. This is the 40th anniversary of National Volunteer Week and a great opportunity to celebrate those members of our community doing extraordinary things through service. 

At the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, we are incredibly fortunate to have some of the most dedicated volunteers in our HR Pro Bono Corps

This week, we are excited to introduce you to a few of them.  Through their stories, we hope you will gain a better understanding of what their volunteer experience is like.  And maybe even be inspired to join them and volunteer with the Corps.

To kick things off, we are proud to recognize Jennifer Pittman, a Human Resources Business Director at Carillion Clinic.  Jenniferwas one of the first volunteers to join the HR Pro Bono Corps, and she has contributed her time and expertise to several nonprofits in need.  Jennifer has a true passion for service, and we are honored to have her as a member of the Corps.

We caught up with Jennifer to learn more about her volunteer experience with the HR Pro Bono Corps:

1. Tell us a little more about your background and how you got involved in the HR Pro Bono Corps.

I am very fortunate to be a part of an organization that strongly believes in giving back to the community, whether it's our own or elsewhere. I have been with Carilion Clinic, a not-for-profit healthcare organization, for just over 10 years. Over those years, I have worked closely with compensation/salary management, performance management, leadership development and broader HR consulting. As an organization, we partner with Cornerstone for many things and about 3 years ago they approached our HR leadership team with a volunteer opportunity - HR Pro Bono Corps. After hearing the presentation, I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved - I think I sent my volunteer application in that same week! Three years later and I still love it! 

2. Since joining the HR Pro Bono Corps, what volunteer projects have you worked on?

I have had the opportunity to partner with many wonderful individuals and organizations since I started with HR Pro Bono Corps in March 2011. Towards the beginning, I was able to assist the Corps itself with the development of volunteer and organization survey tools to measure satisfaction and utilization following a project. With this information, HR Pro Bono Corps has the ability to stay more connected with their volunteers and participating organizations, as well as being able to report on key metrics for the program. Currently, I am engaged with a national organization focused on creating welcoming atmospheres in communities so that immigrants can become more integrated into their adopted hometowns. As a growing organization, they have a need for more defined performance management and salary management structures. I am partnering with their leadership team to brainstorm, develop and fine tune structures and programs that will meet their short-term needs and be versatile for longer-term growth.

3. What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?

It's a tie - my own continued personal development and the opportunity to help organizations that do not have the luxury of broad HR expertise at their fingertips. Interactions with these organizations and individuals provide me with a fresh perspective and a drive to continue to learn and grow. I enjoy learning about different industries and cultures, and figuring out how I can provide expertise and resources that will help them meet their goals. A reward for me -- knowing that I have helped create something that will support the missions, visions and values of these organizations and the important work that they do.

4. What advice would you give to someone interested in volunteering for the HR Pro Bono Corps?

Do it! Determine what your passion is and donate your time to an organization that can use it to leap forward in their growth. Be realistic about the time commitment you can afford. Engagements may range from a single 30 minute brainstorming phone call to a more in-depth 20-hour project. Be honest with yourself and the Corps about your strengths and abilities. Volunteer for the projects that speak to you and understand that you are their HR expert, at least for this short time. You can set the tone for what is right for you. And when you do, you'll find yourself engaged with wonderful people at phenomenal organizations who are so thankful for your time. And, at the end, you'll be so thankful that you gave it.

Want to use your professional skills in a meaningful way to help a nonprofit organization?   Volunteer with the HR Pro Bono Corps and join our ever-growing community of HR professionals making a measurable difference.

About Alec Green

As Chief Marketing Evangelist, Alec Green is responsible for developing the overall marketing plan and strategy for the Foundation, executing all outbound communications, increasing visibility of the Foundation’s programs, and building engagement with our partners... more

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Five 'Baby Steps' to Ramp up your Nonprofit's Employee & Volunteer Training in 2014

April 02, 2014Bob Nutting

The start of the 2nd quarter is a great time to assess your nonprofit’s training strategy and to make sure you are on track to meet your 2014 employee and volunteer development goals. Nonprofit HR Leaders often find themselves trying to balance limited resources with the need to develop effective training programs. Many leaders I work with have sought our advice on three primary areas around employee and volunteer training:

  • Where do we start?
  • What can we do with limited resources/time/staffing/dollars?
  • How do we engage our employees and volunteers?

All great questions—a sign that nonprofit leaders are trying to make the best decisions with the resources they have. Instantly, I am reminded of Richard Dreyfus’ advice to Bill Murray in the classic comedy, “What About Bob?”: Baby Steps.

Although Bill Murray’s character (Bob Wiley) exaggerates this concept because of his fears, it is a smart approach for nonprofit leaders to achieve their training goals.

So in the spirit of “setting small, reasonable goals for yourself one day at a time,” here are 5 baby steps to take the fear out of planning your learning strategy:

 Baby Step #1:  Review Your Feedback and Gaps

  1. Conduct Performance Reviews: Capture comments and gaps identified
  2. Evaluate your exit interviews:  lack of development opportunities is one of the reasons employees leave
  3. Look for examples of unmet goals or objectives where more training may have produced a better outcome
  4. Consider your future leadership transition and review your succession planning needs

Baby Step #2:  Do a Training Inventory

  1. Onboarding activities
  2. Instructor-led classes
  3. Online Courses – any computer-based training from the Internet or a CD-ROM
  4. Documents:  job aids and manuals, white papers, and quick reference guides

Baby Step #3:  Start On-the-job training

  1. Ask employees and volunteers to document what training they need to do their job
  2. Determine what job aids, coaching, or training “nuggets” would help improve productivity
  3. Capture the knowledge of your experienced employees for future on-the-job training needs

Baby Step #4:  Leverage Free Resources (Who can resist free help?)

  1. Use the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation’s HR Pro Bono Corps to help you develop your training strategy
  2. New sites such as SkilledUp, Noodle, and Knollop can be helpful for accessing and navigating e-learning content.  In a recent interview on our blog, Katie Paris cites a number of other great nonprofit e-learning resources.

Baby Step #5:  Structure your Training Around The 5 Moments of Need

  1. Developed by training experts Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher
  2. Every employee and volunteer follows a “learning journey” -- align your training with each moment of need
  3. The 5 Moments of Need:
    • Need #1:  When learning for the first time 
    • Need #2:  When wanting to learn more
    • Need #3:  When trying to remember and/or apply
    • Need #4:  When things change (I would add, when things change in a minor way.)
    • Need #5:  When something goes wrong

Your First Baby Step:

Join us for an upcoming live session with Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson. These recognized international training experts are popular guest speakers at learning conferences around the globe. Their webinar, Reduce Training Costs and Increase Productivity, will guide us deeper into this topic and emphasize practical ways to develop an effective training plan for your employees and volunteers. Follow us on Twitter @csodfoundation to know when registration opens.  

About Bob Nutting

As Director of Learning Strategy and Design, Bob is responsible for leading the content development efforts associated with the Foundation’s signature program, DisasterReady.org, and overseeing the Foundation’s other learning initiatives by engaging key stakeholders... more

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Taking the Scary Out of HR. One Pro Bono Project at a Time.

March 26, 2014Alexis Denny

I was at an event recently, filled with nonprofit leaders representing organizations of all sizes and missions. The speaker was passionately advocating for nonprofits to take advantage of the many opportunities for pro bono skills-based service. Thankfully, the pro bono movement is gaining traction as nonprofits and businesses alike are realizing that skills-based support can be equally if not more effective than traditional volunteering.

The speaker took an inventory, asking what pro bono professional services nonprofits in attendance had utilized. “Who in the room has used a pro bono resource for web design?” he asked. A flurry of hands went into the air. “What about marketing support?” Another sea of hands. The speaker gave a few more examples, all with equally positive responses. Then he asked, “Who has used pro bono support to address an HR-related project or issue?” Not one person raised their hand.

Did not a single nonprofit in that room need HR guidance? We know that could not possibly be the case. Attracting, retaining and developing talent is commonly known to be one of the most critical challenges facing the nonprofit sector. We also know that the sector’s stability is threatened by high turnover, particularly at the executive levels. And, most nonprofit professionals openly consider lack of professional development opportunities as an organizational weakness. Well, if we know all that, then WHY aren’t nonprofit leaders raising their hands and asking for help when it comes to HR?

In a world where most nonprofits are small, have limited resources, and often do not have a dedicated HR professional on staff, is tackling an HR-related project just… scary?

The Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation developed the HR Pro Bono Corps not only to bring much-needed human capital consulting to nonprofits at no cost but to deliver that expertise in a manageable, non-intimidating way that carefully considers the limited resources and the often limited internal HR expertise of nonprofits. Through this program, the Foundation matches HR professionals looking to share their time and skills, to nonprofits in need of coaching or project-based consulting.

With the help and support we provide through the HR Pro Bono Corps, your nonprofit organization can easily tackle that HR challenge and realize that there’s nothing to fear. A nonprofit currently receiving support through the Corps recently shared, “We have made great progress with support from our HR Pro Bono Corps volunteer. We are finalizing the identification of employee characteristics that represent our key values, and we are on track for our first staff-wide Employee Performance review this summer. The process is feeling very thought-out, inclusive, and well-paced.”

Why do you think nonprofits don’t actively enlist assistance in addressing their HR-related projects? What are some areas in which your organization could use support?” We welcome your thoughts and comments.

And, if you’re not quite ready to take the leap, please do look out for our three-part HR Basics blog series, launching next week. This series will cover the ‘basics’- what all nonprofits should know in three critical areas of talent management: learning, performance and succession.

About Alexis Denny

As Director of the Nonprofit Empowerment Program, Alexis Denny is responsible for building and supporting the foundation's global portfolio of capacity building services, including the HR Pro Bono Corps and Gift of Learning.

Previously, Alexis worked in... more

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Mining the Metrics that Matter to Nonprofits

March 12, 2014Alec Green

Return on Investment (ROI) is a term thrown around in corporate boardrooms almost as often as “synergy” and “core competency.”  In the for-profit sector, CEOs know the expectation is not simply to drive more revenue, but to drive revenue profitably.  Every new investment ultimately detracts from the company’s bottom-line profit.  So in order to get incremental investments approved, for-profit executives must forecast, track, and report how each dollar spent generates a positive return for the company’s investors or shareholders.

For many nonprofit executives, measuring their organization’s ROI is an equally important endeavor, but one that comes with more inherent organizational challenges. While nonprofits are typically adept at delivering value, they are often less equipped to demonstrate the value of their work and report these outcomes in a way that makes sense to donors or other for-profit constituencies.  Some lack the internal resources to measure the impact of their organization’s efforts.  Others have the resources, but simply do not understand what it is they should measure, or how they would begin to quantify their organization’s impact. 

Despite these challenges, nonprofit executives are being held to the same standards of transparency, accountability, and measurable results as their for-profit counterparts.  Recently, The Center for Effective Philanthropy surveyed 177 nonprofit leaders from across the country and found that more than 80 percent agree that nonprofits should demonstrate the effectiveness of their work by using performance measures, and most are governed by a board that has made understanding the progress of their organization a top priority.

Performance Measurement Matters to Nonprofits

Source: Room for Improvement, The Center for Effective Philanthropy, 2012.

While the issue of performance measurement has received more attention amongst nonprofits in recent years, the need for ROI-based reporting is hardly a new phenomenon.  In 2001, John Sawhill and David Williamson published Measuring what Matters in Nonprofits based on their research on 20 of the largest nonprofits in the U.S.  Their McKinley Quarterly piece argues that most nonprofits measure success based on funding levels, membership growth, people impacted, and overhead.  While these inputs are vital management tools and critical to evaluating the health of the operation, the “measures that matter” for every nonprofit should be its progress in fulfilling its mission, its success in mobilizing its resources, and its staff's effectiveness on the job. The specific measures will vary based on the type of organization and mission but generally should fall into three broad categories:

Impact measures – Metrics aligned with the long-term focus or mission of the organization

Activity Measures – Metrics aligned with the day-to-day operational effectiveness of the staff

Capacity Measures – Metrics aligned with funding, fund-raising, and resource mobilization

Sawhill and Williamson provide a sample framework based on their work with The Nature Conservancy to demonstrate how these measures can be translated into quantifiable metrics:

The family of measures

Source:  Measuring what Matters in Nonprofits, Sawhill and Williamson, McKinsey Quarterly, May 2001.

For most organizations, the last two categories – activity measures and capacity measures – are relatively straightforward and most likely to be tracked today.  But the third group – impact measures – is oftentimes the most difficult to define, but essential to securing new funding and ensuring the organization’s long-term viability. 

Sawhill and Williamson detail three different approaches to help nonprofits build out their impact measures and demonstrate their progress in achieving their missions:

  • Narrowly define the mission so progress can be quantified and measured directly
  • Invest in research studies to quantify the impact of programs and services
  • Identify “microlevel” goals that, when achieved, suggest the organization is having the same impact on a broader scale

Determining which of these three approaches would be most effective depends on both the specific mission and resources of the organization.  Not every nonprofit has a mission that can be tied to quantifiable metrics.  And not every nonprofit has the resources to invest in secondary research studies or extrapolate microlevel goals to broad-based impact projections.  But in the era of real-time performance measurement and heightened accountability, reporting exclusively on activity and capacity measures simply isn’t good enough.  Building the capacity to track quantifiable value and demonstrate an organization’s ROI has become the de facto standard in nonprofit management.   

How is your organization approaching the ROI-measurement challenge?  Does Sawhill and Williamson’s framework still make sense today?  Leave a comment and let us know.

 

 

Image courtesy of twobee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About Alec Green

As Chief Marketing Evangelist, Alec Green is responsible for developing the overall marketing plan and strategy for the Foundation, executing all outbound communications, increasing visibility of the Foundation’s programs, and building engagement with our partners... more

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Beyond the Hype of E-Learning: An Interview with Leap of Reason’s Katie Paris

March 06, 2014Alec Green

 

E-learning is one of the hottest trends in both education and corporate training.  According to eLearningIndustry.com, $35.6 billion was spent on self-paced e-learning in 2011.  By 2013, that figure had grown to $56.2 billion, and is expected to double by 2015.

To explore this trend in greater detail, Katie Paris and Mario Morino interviewed over 100 e-learning practitioners across academia, government, and the private sector.  Published by The Leap of Reason Initiative, their new report entitled The Beyond-The-Hype Potential of E-Learning  makes the case that e-learning, done right, offers the potential to fundamentally change how we transfer knowledge in all aspects of life.

The Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation team was honored to contribute our perspective and experience to this report and pleased that the authors mentioned our Gift of Learning program as an example of an e-learning resource specifically developed for the nonprofit sector.

The report serves as a good resource for anyone looking to better understand the current state and potential of e-learning.  We reached out to Katie Paris to learn more about her research and explore some of the most important findings for the nonprofit community:  

Tell us a little more about your background and how you got interested in this topic.  

Katie Paris Leap of Reason

My background is in working with political leaders, issue advocates, and the faith community to tackle tough public policy issues. I joined the Leap of Reason team, which exists to advance high performance throughout the social and public sectors, to explore how e-learning could benefit this pursuit. E-learning was a new topic for me, but the process of diving straight in to learn from as many perspectives as possible was familiar. I’m a generalist at heart, so the opportunity to understand how e-learning is transforming not only formal education but also many other aspects of life and learning was immediately appealing to me. The cross-sector applications are endless. If nothing else, I hope we’re able to help broaden the conversation about e-learning.

Based on your research, how do you define e-learning, and how do you distinguish it from online learning and distance learning?

As we say in the report, we yearn for the day when we don’t have to put a prefix or adjective in front of “learning.” In the meantime, we used the broadest definition possible for e-learning—encompassing online learning and distance learning, but also all forms of technology that may be used for content delivery and access, digital collaboration, and coordination. Our definition includes learning occurring through social media and a myriad of online community approaches such as Twitter, Skype, and Pinterest, all of which appear on the Top 100 Tools for Learning. We also include “serious games” and simulations, which offer some of the most exciting opportunities for learning under scenarios that are difficult to rehearse in real life.

What are some of the key takeaways from your research for the nonprofit community?

More than anything, we hope this report helps to inspire leaders in all sectors to start thinking about how e-learning applies to their life and work.

E-learning is already beginning to alter in fundamental ways how individuals develop skills for workplace readiness. We are convinced it could do the same for how social-sector organizations recruit, retain, and develop talent. In terms of developing talent, e-learning could be a great tool, just to name one example, for educating practitioners on the collection, analysis, and use of performance data for progress monitoring, course correction, and continuous improvement.

We’re also convinced e-learning can improve program and service delivery for nonprofits. In the same way we look up a restaurant on Yelp, a lesson on YouTube, or a movie on Fandango, imagine a teacher finding a video on his smart device to help a struggling student with a difficult concept; a home caregiver seeking tips on helping her 6’4” husband back up after a fall, any time of day or night; or a caseworker looking up a tailored resource for dealing with a specific drug issue at the moment of need.

This won’t happen overnight; change is hard. But it’s time to put e-learning on all of our agendas.

Can you give some examples of great e-learning resources that nonprofits can take advantage of?

If you’re reading this, I think you’re likely aware of the nonprofit e-learning resources the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation provides access to at no cost. Here are some others that impress us:

  • New portal sites such as SkilledUp, Noodle, and Knollop can be helpful for accessing and navigating e-learning content (ranging from Khan Academy lessons to
courses provided through Coursera, edX, Udacity, Udemy, and MIT OpenCourseWare to professional training via Lynda). Udemy for Organizations also allows businesses and organizations to create customized learning libraries and courses of their own for internal use.
  • For advice on how to create engaging video content, log on to edX101: How to Create an edX Course and go straight to the “Producing Videos” section for guidance from the head of edX’s media department and Khan Academy founder Sal Khan.
  • If you’d like to try on-screen recording or remixing content, here are two free tools: Screencast-o-matic (the easiest free tool out there for screen recording and voiceovers) and OERPUB (a free publishing tool that allows you to bring together all the content you want, edit and adapt, and publish in a unified format).
  • Also check out the Learning Concierge Society, which learning guru Jane Hart set up in 2013 as a new network for workplace-learning professionals. 

What have been some of the barriers to widespread adoption of e-learning in the nonprofit community?

Widespread adoption takes time, and it’s still early. But we suspect most of the action is at the grassroots level, especially among those familiar with distance learning and/or network technologies. Social media guru Beth Kanter has been helping nonprofits use online peer learning for years to learn from each other and spread best practices. We hope to learn more in the next phase of our work, which will look more specifically at how e-learning could be meaningfully applied to advance high performance for nonprofits. But based on what we've observed so far, there have been some clear failures from which we can learn.

Deficiencies in how e-learning has been approached in the social sector so far include: 1) targeting audiences that are not yet ready; 2) working through existing staff rather than developing or bringing in talent with web design, production, social media, and other skills necessary and thus ending up with content or delivery systems that don’t fit the bill and/or; 3) not realizing the need for professional packaging, marketing, distribution, and support—assuming that if they just make it available all is solved.

We’re optimistic about the potential of e-learning, but for most, it’s going to take more talent, funding, planning, and research than expected.

What new trends in e-learning are you most excited about?

Open source, cloud computing, and mobility are converging to make possible access, speed, agility, and adaptability of a magnitude materially different from that of any previous era. It is in this context that disaggregated or “chunked” content—short, modular, available to anyone where they are, when they need them, for what they need, multiple times, and at little or no cost—introduces the possibility of remixing at every level. Realize that you are already creating content every day. By capturing everything from written procedures to videos to charts, you will develop a repository of bite-size chunks of knowledge that can be pulled together and edited into tailored educational content for your organization.

Note that short really means short. In edX101, a course about how to create a course, Clayton Hainsworth, operation and production manager at edX, recommends creating segments no more than three to seven minutes in length. A recent study of edX student habits found that students generally stopped watching videos longer than six to nine minutes and that the median time spent watching slightly longer videos was just over four minutes. You might notice on our website that each of our videos about the report is between two and six-and-a-half minutes.

*****

What do you see as the potential (or pitfalls) of e-learning for the nonprofit sector?  Do you know of any organizations that have successfully integrated e-learning into their internal operations or external programs? Leave a comment and let us know.

About Alec Green

As Chief Marketing Evangelist, Alec Green is responsible for developing the overall marketing plan and strategy for the Foundation, executing all outbound communications, increasing visibility of the Foundation’s programs, and building engagement with our partners... more

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Can Your Non-Profit Benefit From a $1MM Software and Services Grant?

February 17, 2014Amy Haggarty

The 2014 Impact Grant Cycle Is Now Open. 

What would you do if your nonprofit had the ability to scale its programs and training through the use of online software? Would a grant of one million dollars in learning software and consulting services help your organization increase its impact? Would it help to significantly expand the reach of your training, programs, and services? 

More than 100 nonprofits and NGOs answered ‘yes’ to the above, and attended an informational webinar to learn more about Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation’s Impact Grant program. 

Launched in 2013, the goal of the Impact Grant program is to enable selected nonprofits to leverage Cornerstone’s Learning Management System (LMS) to help scale their community education programs and accelerate their efforts to solve a pressing challenge in our society today. Through this two-year program, we donate unlimited use of Cornerstone’s learning and development software as well as a range of various business consulting services valued at one million dollars.   

Selected nonprofits must be able to demonstrate positive outcomes for their existing programs and provide a clearly articulated vision of how technology and e-learning will exponentially increase their community impact.

With our Impact Grant program, we are helping our current cohort of 2013 grantees– Darkness 2 Light, Project HOPE, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Ounce of Prevention – address critical societal issues such as child sexual abuse, diabetes, childhood obesity and early childhood education. Each organization is now better prepared to provide training, outreach and support to their constituents. 

Says Sarah Bradley, COO of Ounce of Prevention, "We were absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to partner with the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation! The Impact Grant will catapult us forward with our home visiting scaling initiative. It has also provided us with the foundation needed to realize our larger vision of improving the lives of millions of children in poverty.” 

All current grantees have completed system implementation and initial business consulting projects and are now ‘live’ with their new learning portals in the communities that they serve. We continue working with each group to help them best administer, market and grow their new technology-enabled training programs for maximum community impact.  

So whether it is a health worker in India learning how to better manage their patients’ diabetes, a grade-school principal working with her team to plan for a healthier school environment or a soccer coach learning how to recognize and prevent child sexual abuse, the Impact Grant program has provided each of our grantees with a powerful new tool to help them better reach, prepare and connect the people that they serve.

To learn more about the Impact Grant Program you can view a recording of the informational webinar here: www.csodfoundation.org/impact-grant

The deadline for all applications is Friday March 7th.

About Amy Haggarty

As Director of Impact Grants, Amy Haggarty manages the foundation’s grant program, which enables nonprofits to increase the reach and impact of their programs by extending the use of Cornerstone software to their external network of volunteers, partners, and clients... more

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A Different Type of New Year’s Resolution: Volunteer!

January 29, 2014Alexis Denny

The Top 6 Benefits of Volunteering with the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation’s HR Pro Bono Corps

Are you looking for a meaningful way to give back and use your professional expertise to help others in 2014? Consider joining the CSOD Foundation’s HR Pro Bono Corps. Founded in 2010, this signature program matches HR professionals with non-profits in need of consulting. All projects are carefully scoped and volunteers are matched to a non-profit organization and project that meets their availability, interest, and skills.

The benefits of volunteering with the HR Pro Bono Corps go far beyond the feel-good factor. It also helps your company and your brand in the following ways:

  1. Expands awareness of your brand. Volunteering with the Corps creates brand awareness through pull marketing—critical word of mouth—as volunteers, donors, and board members begin to see your company as more than just a provider of products and services.
  2. Expand skills and competencies. An HR Pro Bono Corps project allows HR Professionals to practice their skills, and managers can use the opportunity to broaden team and leadership capabilities.  These projects can be used to address learning and development initiatives as volunteers strengthen leadership, communication, time management, and planning skills.
  3. Earn credits toward your PHR or SPHR credential. Qualify for up to 5 recertification credits per year from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) when you volunteer your time with the Corps and complete a project-based consulting assignment.
  4. Engages Your Employees. With the coming war for talent and shrinking labor pool, keeping new hires and tenured employees engaged and committed is critical to your bottom line. A Corps project connects your employees with your company’s mission and community.
  5. Become a leader in creating social impact. Organizations must continually find new ways to create positive, long-term impact in their communities. By helping a nonprofit solve a critical human resources challenge, your organization steps into a leadership role as not just a business—but a business invested in the health and sustainability of its community.
  6. Be part of a growing pro bono movement and network. Nonprofits and businesses are realizing that skill-based support can be more effective than traditional volunteering. Companies worldwide are joining a rapidly expanding group of like-minded organizations helping to advance social change. When Michelle Golden, Vice President of Talent Management at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., volunteered with the HR Pro Bono Corps to help a Louisiana charter school network create a performance review process, she found the experience incredibly meaningful: “[The project] enabled us to invest our time and skills in work that will have a sustainable impact on the organization and the community. It was an opportunity to dedicate ourselves to something that will last.” 

HR Pro Bono Corps Projects range from two to three-hour coaching engagements to 20-hour project-based engagements. 

If you are interested in learning more about HR Pro Bono Corps and how you can add value to your company, employees, and community through volunteering, please contact us at foundation@csodfoundation.org.

About Alexis Denny

As Director of the Nonprofit Empowerment Program, Alexis Denny is responsible for building and supporting the foundation's global portfolio of capacity building services, including the HR Pro Bono Corps and Gift of Learning.

Previously, Alexis worked in... more

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Taking Home the Gold: DisasterReady.org Wins CLO Learning In Practice Award

October 23, 2013Julie Brandt

We’re thrilled to announce that the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation took home a Gold Award at the Chief Learning Officer Learning in Practice Awards, recognizing the Foundation’s recently launched DisasterReady.org initiative. This coveted award commends the work we’re doing to support disaster preparedness by offering a free, easy-to-use online library of e-learning courses and other training resources that helps prepare humanitarian aid workers for the challenges and demands they face in the field. Launched just six months ago, DisasterReady.org has already helped thousands of aid workers in the field across more than 150 countries.

We created DisasterReady.org out of the understanding that the sheer number of global emergencies continue to rise while humanitarian action and disaster response is only becoming more complex. Given the Foundation’s focus in the area of disaster response, we saw the opportunity to leverage Cornerstone OnDemand’s learning software and its expertise in training and development to be a conduit for change among humanitarian aid workers. We wanted to do it right, so we asked humanitarian experts in training, capacity building and humanitarian assistance from Save the Children, Oxfam, InsideNGO, Mercy Corps, Project HOPE, CARE, AmeriCares, UNHCR, IFRC, and World Vision to help us develop DisasterReady.org.

As a result, DisasterReady.org now offers dozens of best-in-class eLearning courses and live and recorded webinars on key humanitarian issues that range from international law, staff wellness and security, to water sanitation, leadership, team building skills and more. There’s also the opportunity to participate in aid worker training webinars and connect with other humanitarian aid workers to share best practices and resources.

A few of our most popular course themes to date include:

  • Travel Safety and Personal Security – for aid workers traveling to high risk operations
  • Humanitarianism – to learn about important principles and standards of aid work and then apply them to scenario-based challenges
  • Soft-Skill Courses – to give aid workers the necessary communication, leadership and project management skills
  • Languages – to enable aid workers to learn or improve upon their language skills when being deployed to English, French and Spanish speaking operations

We’re on a mission to bring this free disaster response training resource to millions of humanitarian aid staff, volunteers and partners across the world, and we invite you to join the DisasterReady.org community today. We firmly believe that preparedness is the key to minimizing the societal and economic effects of global emergencies.

Please visit the DisasterReady.org site to learn more about our initiative.

Also visit the Chief Learning Officer Web site for more information about this year’s CLO Learning in Practice Award winners. 

About Julie Brandt

As Executive Director of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, Julie Brandt is responsible for developing and driving the growth, reach, and sustainability of the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Brandt advised companies and individuals on their... more

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Giving the Invaluable Gift of Learning

July 16, 2013Julie Brandt

Unlike the private sector, which spends upwards of $1,200 per employee on learning and development,[1] allocating the resources to develop and manage talent is a significant hurdle for nonprofits—particularly given an organization’s many competing priorities and the limited funding for human capital needs. A new campaign, The Overhead Myth, has recently taken the nonprofit world by storm with this very issue.

Started by three leading sources of information on nonprofits—GuideStar, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance—The Overhead Myth seeks to end the notion that a nonprofit’s performance should be evaluated based on their overhead ratio alone. Many donors today believe that low overhead costs are more important than the demonstrated success of a nonprofit’s programs, despite research that displays how strong infrastructure and training programs facilitate better performance among both enterprises and nonprofits.

And given that most individuals come to a job expecting growth and development opportunities, we know that unless they have training programs in place, nonprofits will continually struggle to attract and retain skilled talent needed to increase the impact of their programs and services and deliver on their missions. At the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, we’ve been developing programs to support the human capital capacity among nonprofits since 2010, and are excited to see others speak to this critical issue facing the nonprofit sector.

Designed for Nonprofit Professionals Who Do Everything         
 

 

We established the Gift of Learning program (GOL) in 2011—leveraging Cornerstone’s award-winning learning management system, we developed an online career development site (www.thegol.org) that features e-learning, videos, business book summaries and other training resources. Since the launch of GOL, we have served more than 4,000 nonprofit professionals and over 1,000 nonprofit organizations. Leading organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Boys Town, Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), Stand for Children, Union Rescue Mission, and YMCA have taken advantage of the free training and development opportunities available through GOL.

I’m proud of our contribution to develop nonprofit talent through the Gift of Learning so far—all too often we are hearing that, for many of our participating organizations, this is the first time their staff members are receiving access to training and professional development of any kind.

For this reason, we have added more sector-relevant content to better reflect the diverse training needs and priorities of nonprofits. Today, the GOL provides customized curriculum to support the most common job families in the nonprofit sector: fundraising, leadership, accounting and finance, marketing and communications, operations, volunteer engagement, and program management.

Also as part of our enhancements to GOL, we have designed an e-learning course in collaboration with Blue Avocado’s Jan Masaoka. We’re making this course, “The Role of Nonprofit Board Members in Revenue Generation,” available to all nonprofit professionals and board members through August 15, 2013.

If you are part of a nonprofit organization interested in offering GOL to your membership or employees, please contact us at foundation@cornerstoneondemand.org.

 


[1] American Society for Training & Development, “2012 State of the Industry Report: Organizations Continue to Invest in Workplace Learning.” November 8, 2012. Available at http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2012/11/ASTD-2012-State-of-the-Industry-Report.

 

About Julie Brandt

As Executive Director of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, Julie Brandt is responsible for developing and driving the growth, reach, and sustainability of the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Brandt advised companies and individuals on their... more

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Full Speed Ahead: Setting Sail with the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation 2013 Impact Grantees

April 30, 2013Julie Brandt

Back in January, I introduced you to a new initiative at the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation: the Impact Grant Program. Through this initiative, selected nonprofits receive a two year donation of Cornerstone’s learning and development software and services to help them scale their community education initiatives, increase their impact and accelerate their efforts to address a pressing challenge in our society today. I’m excited to share with you the three mission-driven organizations that we selected for an Impact Grant in 2013.

And the Winners Are…

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Currently, 1 in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for serious health problems such as diabetes, asthma, and heart problems. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation   is leading the charge against the childhood obesity epidemic by engaging directly with industry leaders, educators, parents, healthcare professionals and—most importantly—kids. By collaborating with schools, out-of-school programs and health insurance providers, the Alliance’s goal is to hasten a tipping point where healthier environments for children are the norm and not the exception in this country. 

To date, the Alliance’s programs have been delivered primarily through face-to-face and resource-intensive models. Using the Cornerstone Learning Cloud, Alliance has the opportunity to effectively expand its programs through online courses, virtual live and on-demand learning events, and 24/7 access to resources, materials, and experts. We are excited about supporting the Alliance’s goals of reaching 30,000 schools with free programs and services, and expanding the Benefit program to 6 million youth, ultimately improving the health and well-being of more than 15 million children across the country.

Darkness to Light (D2L)

Each year, 6 million children are involved in child abuse, and not all cases are reported. Eighty percent of sexually abused children meet criteria for at least one psychological disorder as adults, and this abuse and its long-term effects cost our communities upwards of $124 billion annually.[1]

Darkness to Light (D2L) provides education and prevention programs to combat child sexual abuse and fuel a cultural change of societal norms and behaviors of adults who engage with children. Through their signature training program, Stewards of Children, D2L teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Since the program’s inception in 2006, Stewards of Children has trained more than 450,000 adults in youth-serving organizations, schools, youth athletic programs and faith communities, parents, and caregivers.

Now with the Impact Grant and Cornerstone’s software, D2L will be able to make a newly redesigned online version of Stewards of Children widely available – and affordable – to individuals concerned with the protection of children. During the two years of the Impact Grant, D2L aims to provide training to more than 50,000 adults, laying the groundwork for their long-term aspirations of training 5 percent of the adult population, allowing multitudes of children to grow up healthy and better protected from the horror of sexual abuse.

The Ounce of Prevention Fund

In America, 1 in 5 children lives in poverty.[2] Low-income children underperform academically, have lower rates of high school graduation, and are less likely to maintain steady employment. High-quality early childhood intervention and education is proven to help level the playing field for low-income children and put them on a path to success in school and in life.

The Ounce is a recognized leader in training and best practices around early childhood home visitation, a practice in which home visitors meet regularly with low income mothers and children ages 0-5 to enhance parenting skills and support healthy child development. They developed the Ounce Institute which provides ongoing professional development opportunities to 95 percent of the home visitor workforce in Illinois. Currently, the Ounce Institute is offered primarily through in-person instructor-led training sessions, which is not a scalable model to address the growing number of home visitation programs. In fact, today there are no national online training opportunities available to community-based home visiting programs.

This is a critical moment in history for early childhood intervention, as there is heightened awareness, interest and investment in early childhood education and home visitation programs from leaders in the business, research, and political arenas. Through the Impact Grant, the Ounce will be the first organization to spread this important initiative to the national community, providing the 28,000 current home visitors across the country with cost-effective, high-quality training opportunities to build their competencies, bringing about long-term positive outcomes for the 450,000 at-risk children and families that they serve. 

The Journey Ahead

In the coming months, I’ll be sharing updates on how we’re progressing with our three 2013 Impact Grantees—expect to see big things coming from these outstanding organizations! Stay tuned as the stories unfold, and if you are part of or know a nonprofit that would be a good fit for our Impact Grant program, I invite you to learn more.

Congratulations again to our 2013 Impact Grantees!

 

[1] ChildHelp, Child Abuse in America, 2010, http://www.childhelp-usa.com/pages/statistics.

[2] The Urban Institute, The Recession’s Ongoing Impact on Children, 2012, page 1. http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412713-The-Recessions-Ongoing-Impact-on-Children-2012.pdf.

 

About Julie Brandt

As Executive Director of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, Julie Brandt is responsible for developing and driving the growth, reach, and sustainability of the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Brandt advised companies and individuals on their... more

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Learn, Prepare, Collaborate: DisasterReady.org

April 18, 2013Julie Brandt

In 2010, heavy monsoon rains resulted in massive flooding throughout Pakistan, leaving much of the population stranded with little or no access to food and susceptible to water-borne diseases. As this devastating disaster unfolded, we witnessed the tremendous challenge facing relief organizations, including many of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supported by the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, as they struggled to mobilize people and supplies to address this severe crisis. The enormous human toll of this tragedy, combined with the testimonials from many of the aid agencies we work with, underscored the importance of getting well-trained staff and volunteers on the ground as soon as possible after a disaster strikes.

Humanitarian action is only getting more complex. With its rapidly changing compliance standards, new partnership models and the need to scale operations rapidly, training is key to ensuring a successful relief mission. The reality is that most organizations don’t have the resources or bandwidth to provide intensive and consistent training to current staff and volunteers. And since the number of people affected by humanitarian crises is expected to rise to 375 million by 2015—a jump of 125 million people from 2011—the need for real-time, responsive training will only continue to grow.

Given the Foundation’s focus in the area of disaster response and our work supporting relief organizations, we began to see how we could leverage Cornerstone OnDemand’s learning software and expertise in training and development to be a conduit for change among humanitarian workers. Teaming up with the world’s leading humanitarian aid organizations, we developed DisasterReady.org

The DisasterReady.org Initiative

Powered by Cornerstone OnDemand’s learning software, DisasterReady.org is a free, easy-to-use online training resource that provides eLearning courses created to help prepare humanitarian aid workers for the challenges and demands they face in the field. Designed by experts in staff development and humanitarian action, DisasterReady.org is the result of a collaborative nonprofit effort between the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation and prominent aid agencies, including Save the Children, Oxfam America, InsideNGO, Mercy Corps, Samaritan’s Purse, Project HOPE, AmeriCares and many more.

The goal of DisasterReady.org is simple: to increase the preparedness and effectiveness of humanitarian aid workers around the world by providing accessible, affordable, high-quality training. If you have an Internet connection, you can benefit from DisasterReady.org—course topics range from international law, staff wellness and security, to water sanitation and communications, leadership, team building skills and more. Users can take several courses at a time, view completed courses and access course materials as often as they would like. Leveraging the DisasterReady.org portal, the humanitarian community can also participate in training webinars and share best practices and resources.

This is Where You Come In

While disasters are difficult to prevent, preparedness is the key to minimizing the societal and economic effects of these all too common global emergencies. Stay tuned in the coming months for more information on how we’re developing the program to be the most adaptable, responsive and accessible resource for humanitarian aid workers around the world. What could this program look like in five, even ten years? We’re keen to find out—and invite you to be part of the DisasterReady.org community and join us in the process of ensuring our content reflects the priorities and challenges on the ground.

To get started with DisasterReady.org, visit www.disasterready.org. Have a resource or Web site you’d like to include in the DisasterReady.org Resources section? Contact us at info@disasterready.org.

About Julie Brandt

As Executive Director of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, Julie Brandt is responsible for developing and driving the growth, reach, and sustainability of the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Brandt advised companies and individuals on their... more

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Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation Launches Program to Help Increase Nonprofits’ Global Impact

January 31, 2013Julie Brandt

The Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation was established in 2010 to address critical talent management challenges among nonprofit organizations. Across the globe, nonprofits provide vital services and assistance to communities in need, and too often do not have the resources to train and develop their own talent, let alone an external network of volunteers and partners. We seek to change that with programs and services that leverage Cornerstone OnDemand’s talent management and learning technology and expertise, to help strengthen the capacity of nonprofits so they can achieve broader mission-driven impact in the communities they serve. 

Recognizing the value in supporting nonprofits’ talent management programs, most of our initiatives have been focused on developing an organization’s internal talent—a frequently overlooked, yet essential need among nonprofits. We’ve seen lots of progress from our programs, having delivered more than $6 million in impact since our inaugural year.

I’d like to introduce you to a new program we’ve developed to help nonprofits extend their reach—the Impact Grant program. Through this granting initiative, we’re broadening the focus of training and development to include a nonprofit’s external network of volunteers, clients, and community partners.

Here’s how the Impact Grant program works: with preference given to those nonprofits that can demonstrate executive level support and a clear plan to support and dramatically expand an existing educational program or initiative, participating organizations receive a two year donation of Cornerstone software and services, which includes unlimited use of our Learning Management System (LMS). This allows nonprofits to scale their learning and training initiatives and exponentially increase their impact. To ensure nonprofits are able to effectively leverage this LMS donation, they also receive access to a range of pro bono business consulting services.

The Impact Grant and Project HOPE

Project HOPE, an international health and humanitarian relief and development organization, was the first recipient of an Impact Grant in 2012. The organization launched the India Diabetes Educator Project (IDEP) in 2007 to address the 60 million (and growing) Indians living with diabetes by training local healthcare professionals to recognize, treat and help patients manage this disease.

With the Foundation’s Impact Grant, Project HOPE is able to exponentially scale its IDEP training delivery by using Cornerstone’s Learning Management System (LMS). Through the LMS, healthcare professionals in India will participate in an online diabetes training program that includes animation, assessments and moderated group discussions to make the distance training experience more engaging. Additionally, Project HOPE will now be able to process online registrations, collect course fees, communicate electronically with and extract detailed reports for all program participants.

Before the Foundation’s Impact Grant and its resources, 3,000 health care workers were trained during the five years IDEP had been established. With the implementation of the e-Learning program through the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, 100,000 health care workers will be trained by the end of 2014, significantly accelerating Project HOPE’s ability to reduce diabetes-related mortality by increasing access to trained diabetes educators. Project HOPE anticipates expanding this model to other countries and to address non-communicable diseases by 2015, leveraging our grant to exponentially increase their community impact.

We’re thrilled about the progress we’ve seen so far through the Impact Grant program, and we invite you to apply for a grant if your nonprofit has a program that requires a technology solution to help extend its reach and community impact. For more information or to apply now, visit: http://www.cornerstoneondemand.org/impact_grant_program.html.

About Julie Brandt

As Executive Director of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, Julie Brandt is responsible for developing and driving the growth, reach, and sustainability of the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Brandt advised companies and individuals on their... more

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The Value of Talent Management Software for Nonprofits

October 06, 2011Alexis Denny

Nonprofits provide vital services and assistance to communities across the country and around the world, demonstrating remarkable success in meeting daily and diverse needs despite having limited resources.  The economic downturn has impacted funding for nonprofits, but these organizations are equally challenged – if not more so – by the ability to develop and retain the right people to help them achieve their missions.  Not only are these organizations grappling with the impending retirement of seasoned, high-level leaders, they are also increasingly competing with the private sector for talented people. 

Consider the following:

  • 640,000 nonprofit leadership and senior management positions will need to be filled in the next 10 years 1
  • 75 percent of nonprofit executives do not plan to be in their job five years from now 2
  • About 50 to 75 percent of nonprofit roles needing to be filled require traditional business skills – including HR 1

This talent issue becomes even more challenging when you take into account the lack of capacity or resources nonprofits have to give critical HR issues such as performance management, training and development, and leadership development the attention they deserve.  Research from Taproot Foundation shows that less than a fourth of nonprofits have one dedicated HR employee.  As a result, HR becomes more of an administrative vs. strategic process. 

Cornerstone recognizes the value that the right talent management strategy and technology support can have in helping nonprofits manage their people and increase their impact in the communities they serve.  This was the inspiration for the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, which we launched in 2009 to offer the nonprofit sector our talent management software and services at special rates. 

The Foundation also selects a limited number of nonprofits to participate in the Strategic Partner program, providing our software and implementation services at no cost.  The Strategic Partner program now includes more than 25 nonprofits whose mission and activities align with the Foundation’s three areas of focus – education, workforce development and disaster relief. 

Jumpstart: Becoming an Employer of Choice

We’ll be talking with some of our nonprofit partners from time to time for the blog and sharing some insight into how they’re leveraging technology to address their talent issues.  The first of these is Jumpstart, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing early education to children from low-income neighborhoods. 

Since 1993, Jumpstart has been developing language and a literacy skills set in these children in an effort to close the educational achievement gap.  To achieve its goals, the organization has trained over 20,000 college students and community volunteers to reach out to 90,000-plus preschool children across the United States. 

In 2010, the Foundation selected Jumpstart as a donation recipient for the Cornerstone talent management solution.  We recently had the opportunity to chat with Kasi Cruz, Jumpstart’s Senior Director of Human Resources, to discuss Jumpstart’s partnership with the Foundation and what it means for them as a nonprofit organization. 

Tell us a little bit about Jumpstart.  How many employees and volunteers do you have?

Jumpstart is headquartered  in Boston, and we have seven regional offices in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington DC, as well as Boston (sharing space with our HQ).  We also have about 69 sites located at colleges and universities across the country. 

About 200 Jumpstart staff members work across these locations, managing nearly 4,000 volunteers who are serving 10,000 children this year.  In addition, we have an alumni program that engages thousands of volunteers who have served with Jumpstart since the organization was founded in 1993.

What is Jumpstart’s overall talent-management strategy?

Jumpstart’s overall strategy is simple – to recruit, develop, and retain the leaders and talent we need today and tomorrow in order to grow, serve more children, and achieve our mission.  We have four organizational priorities:

  • to achieve meaningful child and community impact;
  • to ensure a smart, efficient use of our time, resources and energy;
  • to generate sustainable revenue;
  • and to be an employer of choice. 

There are so many different things that go into being an employer of choice.  Developing a talent-management strategy that fits with -- and that is going to work for -- our organization is just one. 

This year, Jumpstart is broadening its approach to succession planning and management.  We plan to use the critical data and resources provided through the Cornerstone system to scan our entire network and identify staff with strong leadership potential in order to better target our investment in staff development and growth.  We also are in the process of building a leadership development program that will be managed and tracked through the Cornerstone system by our executive management team. 

In addition to our succession initiatives, we will are implementing two new management and development tools this year – Strengths Finder and Predictive Index – and are excited to explore how we can integrate such tools with Cornerstone.

What issues or business challenges were you looking to address through your relationship with the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation?

The biggest challenge that using Cornerstone’s software is going to help us address is inefficiency across detached HR processes.  We have a number of processes that drive talent management objectives, but much of what we do has been managed manually through Word documents and Excel spreadsheets.  This impacts organizational performance, as well as the data and information we need to make the best decisions.  It also results in the HR team spending too much time on tasks that don’t add value, such as piecing systems and data together to provide information and reports to the executive team.

What does Jumpstart’s relationship with the Foundation mean for you today, as well as tomorrow?

The Foundation chose us, and we have felt incredibly privileged and supported by the Cornerstone team since we began implementation.  This past May, my team and I got to hear Adam Miller speak at Cornerstone’s Convergence client and partner conference, where he also hosted a special luncheon for Foundation clients.  His push to create the Cornerstone Foundation is remarkable not only in its generosity and willingness to uniquely support community service, but also because it’s ultimately a smart and forward-thinking business decision.  The Foundation gives nonprofit organizations an opportunity to experience the value of Cornerstone’s software and services, as well as the impact it can have on their people, mission and bottom line.  It’s a helping hand that I believe builds brand loyalty and a client base for tomorrow that might not otherwise exist.

Implementation has been a great learning opportunity for Jumpstart, and we are excited by the possibilities Cornerstone holds for our staff, volunteer, and others working to transform education in America.  I see Jumpstart remaining a Cornerstone client for many years to come.

To read more about how nonprofits are benefiting from talent management software, check out our Cornerstone client success stories for Teach for America and Save the Children.  

1.  Bridgespan Group
2.  CompassPoint NonProfit Services / Meyer Foundation

About Alexis Denny

As Director of the Nonprofit Empowerment Program, Alexis Denny is responsible for building and supporting the foundation's global portfolio of capacity building services, including the HR Pro Bono Corps and Gift of Learning.

Previously, Alexis worked in... more

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