You are here

Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations

Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations

May 2009 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

How can today's nonprofits demonstrate effective use of funds?

How can they motivate employees and volunteers and combat burnout and high turnover?

How can they ensure that they are performing in accordance with their mission and purpose?

Author Stephen J. Gill answers these questions and more in Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations. Filled with practical tips and tools, the book shows students and managers of human services, arts, education, civic, and environmental agencies how to implement a learning culture with individuals, teams, the organization as a whole, and the larger community.

Key Features

  • Draws on the author's more than 25 years of consulting experience
  • Demonstrates how to create a culture of intentional learning that uses reflection and feedback, focuses on successes and failures, and builds a strong organization that motivates employees and volunteers
  • Offers specific, hands-on tools for each level of the organization, from the individual and team to the whole organization and the community
  • Discusses not only the need for a learning culture but also the barriers that may stand in the way
  • Takes a step-by-step approach that facilitates managers' and students' understanding and learning
  • Incorporates practical tools that can be used in nonprofit management and in actual field instruction

Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations is appropriate for courses in Social Work Evaluation, Public and Nonprofit Management, and Evaluation.

Chapter 1. Need for a Learning Culture
Chapter 2. Barriers to a Learning Culture
Chapter 3. Creating a Learning Culture
Chapter 4. Individual Learning
Chapter 5. Team Learning
Chapter 6. Whole Organization Learning
Chapter 7. Community Learning
Chapter 8: Learning From Evaluation
Chapter 9: Using Models to Facilitate Learning
Chapter 10: Summary
About the Author

"Gill’s book is a basic primer for managers who are highly motivated to create a vibrant culture of learning. Gill does and excellent job of summarizing research regarding the elements of successful instructor led training activities. The importance of Gill’s book is that it clearly conceptualizes “learning culture” and offers straightforward approaches to moving toward this goal."

Dee Wilson
University of Washington

I was looking for a more recent textbook that examined the development of a learning culture.

Professor Denise Sommers
College Of Educ Human Services, Univ Of Illinois-Springfield
January 28, 2016

quite interesting for some of my students and I continously recommend the book for student's assignment and MA thesis

and very relevant for my own research

Professor Linda Andersen
Department of Psychology and Education, Roskilde University
August 22, 2012

Great connection to learning organization theory and upcoming evaluation course.

Dr Cynthia MacGregor
Educational Admin Dept, Missouri State University
September 13, 2010

Well presented and accessibly written. Good checklists and charts making it very useful for the pracitioner. Although written by an American it is relevant here in the UK. Particularly liked the self reflection worksheet on p64 - a development on usual evaluation forms. Learning from evaluation chapter also useful for research methods teaching

Would be good to have diagrams available on the internet so you can use them in teaching rather than needing to scan them. Would also have been good to see more web references for further research online.

Dr Sally Nash
Youth, Midlands Centre for Youth Ministry
September 6, 2010

The book is very useful for part of this course and hence I will recommend it and use other references for the remainder of the program. In general these are articles rather than books.

Professor Jill Wilson
Social Work , University of Queensland
November 12, 2009

Does not apply to general Human Resource Management class.

Professor Pamela Sigafoose
MacArthur School of Leadership, Palm Beach Atlantic University
November 11, 2009
Key features

Methods and Tools -Each chapter has methods and tools that can be applied to develop a culture of learning in any nonprofit, government, or civic organization.

Evaluation Applied to Organizational Learning and Improvement - Evaluation methods that provide feedback and the opportunity for reflection are shown to be useful tools for continuous organizational learning that leads to improvement and greater effectiveness and organizational sustainability.

Four Levels of Learning - Reader sees how to improve performance, in a manageable way, at the individual, team, whole organization, and community levels.

Models - Reader sees how to use impact models, strategy maps, and balanced scorecards to learn as an organization and apply that learning to performance improvement.

Organizational Culture - Reader can see how the culture of an organization can support continuous learning and change. Learning is not an event; it is something that must be constant in organizations and people must apply that learning to improving the performance of the organization.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase or sample this product on our Sage College Publishing site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.