Best Practices in Training and Mentoring

To design the Wild Forever Future Campaign, The Wilderness Society spent two years researching the most effective models of training and mentoring. We looked at successful programs in the nonprofit, corporate, academic, and government sectors, scanning more than 80 programs and interviewing experts in the field. We also surveyed literature outlining trends in nonprofit leadership and best practices in a blend model of training.

To learn more about the universe of training and mentoring programs we studied, read the following briefing papers and reports.

Briefing papers produced by The Wilderness Society:

Building a Campaign Skills Initiative: The Wilderness Society turned to seasoned campaigners to better understand their learning goals, the kinds of trainings they are participating in, and the kinds of training they would like access.  Through an online survey and a series of informational interviews, The Wilderness Society suggests a new model for training land protection activists. Download and review the briefing paper in full.

Models of Successful Training and Mentoring Programs: The Wilderness Society profiled six programs that exemplify the best practices in comprehensive training and mentoring across the nonprofit, government, and academic sectors. We interviewed the founders and coordinators of these programs to learn more about their teaching methodologies, the challenges they faced in launching these programs, and the lessons learned in designing and launching such programs. Download and review the briefing paper in full.

Survey of Corporate Training Strategies: The Wilderness Society scanned award-winning corporate training programs to identify the key strategies that corporations execute to train employees at all stages of their career. Download and review the briefing paper in full.

Structuring a Sabbatical Program for Long-Time Wilderness Advocates: The Wilderness Society reviewed existing sabbatical programs to help conceive a sabbatical aimed at providing our most senior leaders the opportunity to step away from everyday responsibilities to study the challenges and opportunities of the future. Download and review the briefing paper in full.

Reports discussing the leadership crisis in the nonprofit sector:

The Nonprofit Leadership Deficit: In 2006, The Bridgespan Group released an extensive study describing the leadership challenge faced by nonprofits. Among other findings, The Bridgespan Group predicts that nonprofits need to find between 330,000 to 660,000 executives to fill leadership positions. Read more about one of the greatest challenges that the nonprofit sector now faces.

Daring to Lead: In 2006, Compass Point Nonprofit Services and the Meyer Foundation surveyed 2,000 nonprofit executives to better understand why most executives decide to leave their nonprofit careers within five years. Read more about the challenges that nonprofit executives face in growing a career over the long term.

Next Shift:  Beyond the Nonprofit Leadership Crisis: In 2007, The Annie E. Casey Foundation continued to explore the inevitable transition that will occur in the nonprofit sector as the Baby Boom generation of leaders makes way for a new generation of leaders.  Read more about the ways in which the nonprofit sector should rethink leadership positions and how to groom new leaders.

Finding Leaders for America’s Nonprofits: In 2009, The Bridgespan Group published a follow-up report on its initial study of the leadership deficit within the nonprofit sector. Based on a poll of more than 400 nonprofit leaders, the report outlines the challenges of retraining nonprofit leaders, including a lack of training and mentoring opportunities. Read more about the observations made by nonprofit leaders about the challenges to furthering their careers.

What Works:  Developing Successful Multigenerational Leadership: In 2010, the Building Movement Project published a study describing the ways in which organizations are and can empower all generations to work together to create new leaders in the nonprofit sector.  Read more about the variety of ways in which nonprofit organizations foster collaboration and leadership.

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Learn more about best practices in training and mentoring

In designing the Wild Forever Future Campaign, we studied a range of successful training models. Review our series of briefing papers that describe what we discovered.