Running a non profit can be hard work. Non profits have unique challenges that can add to the complexity of keeping them going. High staff turnover, working with (sometimes unreliable) volunteers, trying to maximize your impact while minimizing costs, all while staying accountable to your donors. All of these make it even more important that you establish repeatable systems and processes that run themselves as much as possible.
Volunteer and employee training is one of those important areas that must be done, and be done well. But there are ways to put training on auto pilot without having to constantly manage it. A good learning management system should help with this, guiding learners to their training, making training available 24/7 and from any kind of device, and reminding learners when they don't complete their objectives. It's important that the system saves you work instead to giving you and your team even more work.
Below are five of our favorite learning management systems that work great for non profits and their teams. Hopefully this list helps you find the right one for your unique needs.
Our five favorite non profit LMS options
Groundwork1 is a more simple take on a learning management system. It shines if you have volunteers or others outside of your organization that you still need to finish some kind of training. Your employees or volunteers receive their training via email, including links, documents and other training materials. Clicking on these interactive links leads them to simple landing pages with only the content they need to complete. All of the training can be completed on mobile devices as well. You can track the progress of your team and see both the overview and details of who has completed their training.
This is another lower cost learning management system that can work well for non profits. One of the things they provide is a number of pre-made training templates that could be helpful if you need some kind of generic training for things like HR compliance training or leadership training. When signing up you will choose your portal name and then you can send that resource out to your team for them to log in and complete their training materials. You can analyze your courses and people with in depth reports that help you to improve your training over time.
OpenLMS is an open source learning management system that is Moodle based, so it would be familiar to many people in the training space already. You can use the system to train your people on your mission and goals with ongoing training. You can choose where to install it and if you have some kind of custom integration that no other vendor offers then this allows you to do that because you can directly interface with the code that runs the system.
This learning management system puts a greater emphasis on learner collaboration. Once enrolled your trainees can learn together using real time instructor led training, or discussion forums and chat modules that let learners interact with each other. You can also allow learned to compete with achievements, leaderboards, and training gamification. Of course you can keep tabs on learner progress within the app and view or export reports whenever you need to.
This is a complex learning management system that seems to do it all. It has a number of advanced integrations that allow it to connect to a number of other apps and services that you may already use. It allows you to create courses with a number of different available modules, as well as things like webinars and learning portals. Once you have your employees or volunteers in the system you can report on their progress and stay up to date with where they are at with their training.
As you can see there are a number of good options for non profits in the LMS space. There are also a broad range of prices for these. Many of them charge by the number of users that you want to have in the system, and that will vary by organization. It can be hard to compare when some of them don't reveal pricing details on their websites without talking to sales teams first.
Whichever one you choose, it can be still be difficult to put together your training materials to make sure you have covered everything that you need to, while leaving room for questions and feedback. Don't underestimate the time and resources that can take, especially if video content is involved. In the end, your volunteers and employees will benefit from the training and these types of systems are designed to relieve you from the day to day work of reminding users that they need to complete their required training.