Volunteering & Training

Sharing best practices, vital resources and informed insights is at the cornerstone of each ESC program, service or training opportunity. Strengthening the capacity of our nonprofit and public agency clients means providing them with information, equipping them to build on progress and implement change for lasting success. Opportunities for learning new disciplines and skills enrich the experience of ESC volunteers, translating their career experience and expertise to consulting with nonprofits.

Since 1978, ESC has honed this effective model, building an unmatched knowledge center of topics in nonprofit and public agency governance, management and operations.

Creative and Unique Models for Knowledge Sharing

ESC engages with foundation, corporate and sector enriching partners to provide focused trainings to grantees and groups of nonprofits with capacity building needs. These partnerships include the VolunTEAM Volunteer Management engagements with the City of Chicago’s One Good Deed initiative, workshops and consulting to nonprofits working in southern Cook County with the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and the MacArthur Arts & Culture Loan Fund for grantees of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, among others.

Built from ESC’s core service and program offerings, these partnerships are creative and unique models for solutions to some of the most urgent and direct needs of the nonprofit sector. Contact Jo Posselt, ESC’s Vice President of Marketing & Development, to discuss a partnership.

Professional Development Opportunities for ESC Consultants and Coaches

All ESC consultants participate in introductory training surveying our most demanded services and sharpening the skills necessary to be effective consultants. Building on the professional skills of our consultants, ESC provides professional development in topics of nonprofit management, including:

Board Development – This workshop explores areas such as diagnosing issues in governance, board and staff relations, the board self-renewal process, internal operations of a board and its committees, developing board leadership and more. Consultants who have completed the workshop attend regular meetings of ESC’s governance-focused Practice Groups to continue learning in nonprofit governance.

Coaching and Team Development – One of ESC’s most popular courses focuses on the active listening skills and probing questions that get results. This workshop both prepares volunteers to serve as coaches and enforces the most critical skills in successful consulting relationships. The Coaching Practice hosts regular development sessions to sharpen skills in individual and team coaching as well as mentoring.

Fund Development, Planned Giving, and Endowment Planning – ESC offers training in a myriad of development topics for our consultants in order to approach the unique circumstances of each client with a comprehensive fund development approach. Workshops cover the practicalities of proper documentation and management, as well as contributed and earned income strategies.

Leadership Transition – Addressing ESC’s range of services in transition preparation and management, this overview training teaches consultants the common issues and anxieties associated with leadership change and the role of consultants in guiding organizations for smooth and productive transitions. The Human Resources & Leadership Transition Management Practice Group hosts ongoing trainings in each specific service area and discussions in relevant topics.

Strategic Planning – Explores the important responsibility of nonprofit boards in defining strategic direction. Breaking the daunting process into manageable pieces, consultants learn to facilitate momentum through common pitfalls. Trained consultants often join ESC’s governance-focused Practice Groups to remain up-to-date on relevant topics.

Rounding out ESC’s professional development opportunities are trainings focused on the specific sectors and agency-types with which ESC has expertise, such as small arts organizations, Park Districts & Special Recreation Associations and more.

ESC utilizes a variety of learning methodologies, including case studies, role playing, small group activities and large group discussions. Most opportunities are offered multiple times annually, and workshops typically include two full days of interactive content.

For a glimpse of upcoming professional development opportunities, view ESC’s events. ESC invites those who are interested in this dynamic, group learning environment to explore having a meaningful impact in the community as an ESC consultant or coach. Learn more about ESC's ability to enhance your corporate citizenship and social responsibility programs.