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Peer Learning Community Programs: Cost-Effective Capacity Building for Nonprofits

Are you responsible for capacity-building programs? Do you search for cost-effective ways to help your clients achieve their goals? People who provide services to help individuals or organizations improve and grow may find it difficult to design a program that is both effective and cost efficient to deliver.
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Capacity Building Organizations (CBOs), consultants and foundations all struggle with how to foster growth and improvement with nonprofits. While workshops, conferences and webinars provide the needed information, applying the learning and making the organizational change after the training is finished, is the challenge. Utilizing technology, peer learning programs bring the learning topic to more individuals at each nonprofit and support the application of the learning and ultimate implementation of the organizational change. Peer learning models are particularly beneficial for associations and coalitions striving to rapidly build capacity of a network of practitioners.

Catherine Marshall first began experimenting with peer learning models when she was CEO of the California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO). With over one hundred nonprofits in her network, she needed to reach beyond the annual conference and individual technical assistance she provided them. She discovered that training, combined with goal setting and facilitated, peer-led learning delivered over time, was a highly effective way to help the nonprofits achieve their capacity building goals.

Since starting her consulting business, focused on nonprofit capacity building (2007), she has facilitated learning clusters that launched state associations of microenterprise programs, developed learning networks of nonprofits integrating financial empowerment and microenterprise programs, and built the capacity of small nonprofits in rural areas. Catherine currently advises the Learning Communities Resource Center of the National Community Action Partnership and facilitates a learning cluster of small nonprofits in rural Northern California. Her experience has taught her that peer learning programs address several capacity building issues including, access to the information, support over the long-haul for implementing the organizational change, and building capacity within a network that promotes ongoing learning after the program is complete. Catherine Marshall shares what she has learned about nonprofit peer learning in her e-manual “Peer Learning Programs: Cost Effective Capacity Building for Nonprofits.”

Contact Catherine Marshall today to learn how to design and deliver effective capacity building programs for the nonprofits you serve. Catherine Marshall proudly serves clients throughout the U.S.