If you’re reading the beginning of this blog and think, “professional career development” is a bit bland, then perhaps you haven’t discovered the world of incredibly rewarding and engaging professional development opportunities that exist!

Professional development is an ongoing process (the key word being “ongoing”) and it should rightfully continue throughout your life.

Whether you are starting your career and looking for professional development (PD), or established in your career, it is so important to set as a priority.

The benefits you can gain from professional development include:

– Acquiring new ways to think and act

– Gaining essential knowledge and skills

– Learning how to develop new skills

– Developing capabilities to transform your organisation

– Raising productivity

– Learning best-practice and, even

– Building on strategies for personal growth

There have been times in my career where Directors of organisations I have worked for, encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and attend a  PD course or session that was incredibly beneficial. One of the most immersive PD opportunities to date, was when I attended the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Congress in Toronto almost 13-years ago. Fast forward to 2020, I remain connected with individuals from the other side of the world, who continue to mentor and teach me invaluable skills.Alicia Blog Image1

Of course, I acknowledge that travelling overseas or indeed even attending local  PD courses may not necessarily be in your organisation’s budget. So, if you really believe in the value of developing yourself professionally, which I do believe also develops you personally, then you should consider taking charge of your PD on your own terms.

(Picture L to R – Vicki James, Steve Thomas and Alicia Edwards, attending the FIA professional development breakfast)

As Vicki James from the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation said to me recently “It’s an individual responsibility to invest in professional development. A lot of people use the excuse that their organisation doesn’t have it in the budget but it’s not always up to the organisation.”

There is a myriad of professional development opportunities available to anyone working in the not-for-profit sector. In 2020 alone, there are conferences, short courses and online training sessions to upskill, motivate, refresh and educate.

You can check out the list of not-for-profit professional development sources that are available in:

Australia and New Zealand

Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies (ACPNS)

Connecting Up

Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA)

Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ)

Fundraising & Philanthropy (F&P)

Philanthropy Australia

Pro Bono


Association of Fundraising Professionals – Canada (AFP)

Association of Fundraising Professionals – USA

International Fundraising Congress (IFC) – Europe

Institute of Fundraising – UK

Strategic Grants is also committed to advancing best-practice and I encourage you to participate in our training opportunities we have carefully curated for this year.

There are quick and budget friendly online webinars, insightful workshops and bespoke training day options that we can tailor for your organisation.

SG conducts many types of training solutions to develop the capacity of our incredible sector.

Over a year we aim to host and present:

– 10 half-day workshops to upskill anyone who wishes to draw on best-practice grant-seeking techniques

– Approximately 80 tutorials for GEM Portal users

– At least 10 free GEM Portal training refresher courses for anyone who subscribes to our Grants Expertise Management System – GEMS

– new online webinars

– at many sector conferences

We also offer:

– An online library with recorded webinars that cover a range of topics from developing your project plans, beginner and advanced writing skills, evaluation and meeting funder expectations and;

– Engaging podcasts to listen to and blogs to read (free resources on the SG website)

So, my advice is not to delay. Schedule your professional development just as you would with any task you need to complete this year!

I look forward to seeing you at the next development opportunity.

For further information, check out the SG website Training AND Free Resources page