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How to Ask Your Supervisor to Invest in Your Professional Development




Embarking on a journey of professional development is a pivotal step in advancing your career and making a meaningful impact in the nonprofit sector. Whether you're a brand-new nonprofit professional or have been with your organization for several years, approaching your supervisor about investing in your professional growth can be a daunting task. In this post, we'll provide you with actionable strategies and talking points to effectively communicate the importance of professional development to your supervisor and secure their support for your training program.


Brand-New Nonprofit Professionals

  1. Highlight Your Commitment to Success

  • Express your enthusiasm for your new role and your dedication to making a positive contribution to the organization's mission. Emphasize that investing in your professional development will enhance your skills and effectiveness in your role, ultimately benefiting the organization as a whole.

  • Example Talking Point: "As a new member of the team, I'm eager to learn and grow in my role. Investing in my professional development will not only help me excel in my responsibilities but also contribute to achieving our organization's goals."

  1. Demonstrate the Value of the Training Program

  • Research the professional development training program you're interested in and highlight how it aligns with your job responsibilities, career goals, and the organization's strategic objectives. Provide concrete examples of how the skills and knowledge you'll gain from the program will directly benefit your work and contribute to organizational success.

  • Example Talking Point: "I've identified a professional development training program that focuses on [specific skill or topic relevant to your role]. By participating in this program, I'll gain valuable insights and techniques that I can immediately apply to my work, ultimately driving greater impact for our organization."

  1. Propose a Plan for Implementation

  • Outline a clear plan for how you'll balance your professional development with your job responsibilities, ensuring minimal disruption to your workflow. Offer solutions such as scheduling training sessions during non-peak periods, delegating tasks to colleagues, or utilizing vacation or flex time to accommodate your training needs.

  • Example Talking Point: "I've thoughtfully considered how to integrate the training program into my workflow without compromising my responsibilities. I'm willing to adjust my schedule, delegate tasks as needed, and proactively manage my workload to ensure a smooth transition during the training period."


Nonprofit Professionals with Experience

  1. Demonstrate Your Track Record of Success:

  • Showcase your past accomplishments and contributions to the organization, highlighting how your professional development efforts have positively impacted your performance and the organization's outcomes. Illustrate how investing in your continued growth will further elevate your effectiveness and drive even greater results.

  • Example Talking Point: "Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to [mention specific achievements or projects]. By investing in my professional development, I'm confident that I can build upon this success and bring new insights and strategies to our team."

  1. Emphasize the Evolving Nature of the Nonprofit Sector:

  • Discuss the dynamic nature of the nonprofit sector and the importance of staying ahead of emerging trends, best practices, and technological advancements. Articulate how ongoing professional development is essential for remaining competitive, adapting to change, and ensuring the organization's continued relevance and impact.

  • Example Talking Point: "As the nonprofit landscape evolves, it's crucial for us to stay informed and adaptable. By investing in my professional development, I'm proactively positioning myself—and our organization—for success in an ever-changing environment."

  1. Offer a Return on Investment (ROI) Analysis:

  • Present a compelling case for how investing in your professional development will yield a significant return on investment for the organization. Quantify the potential benefits in terms of increased efficiency, improved outcomes, enhanced innovation, and greater employee retention and satisfaction.

  • Example Talking Point: "I've conducted research on the potential ROI of the professional development program, and the projected benefits far outweigh the costs. By enhancing my skills and knowledge, I'll be better equipped to [mention specific outcomes or goals], ultimately driving greater value for our organization."


Asking your supervisor to invest in your professional development requires careful planning, effective communication, and a compelling case for why it's beneficial for both you and the organization. Whether you're a new nonprofit professional eager to establish yourself or a seasoned veteran looking to stay ahead of the curve, utilizing these talking points will help you navigate the conversation with confidence and secure the support you need to advance your career and make a lasting impact in the nonprofit sector. Remember, investing in yourself is an investment in the future success of your organization.

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