DIY Training: Take Advantage of Existing Resources

HelpIf you’re lucky, things run pretty smoothly in your development office. Each of your staff has their unique area of responsibility and interacts seamlessly with other internal experts. If your luck holds out, this state of equilibrium will continue for a very long time.

If (or perhaps more accurately, when) your luck runs out, then one day you’ll find that a key staff person (like the person who administers your donor management system) has announced they have taken a position with another company or are retiring. They have years of information about donors and gifts, processes and procedures stored neatly inside their head and it’s about to walk out of your building.

Suddenly your big puzzle has a missing piece. And you have a new priority to hire and train a new employee. Where do you begin?

The answer may depend on how much money you’ve set aside in your budget for staff training. If you’ve prepared for this scenario, then you can simply visit the training page of your software company’s website to learn more about what your options are. You may even be able to purchase a training session right on the spot.

But if you haven’t the financial resources to purchase training services for your new employee, consider what you might already have at your fingertips. In the good old days when software came with manuals, you could just dig them up (hopefully) and start reading. Now, software is designed with the help system built right into the product. That means that there is likely a digital version of the old-fashioned manuals waiting to be explored whenever you’re ready. If you haven’t found it yet and you’re using a Windows-based application, look for either of these two fairly-universal tools for Windows-based software applications:F1

There may be even more ways to get a jump start on training a new employee on a shoestring. Consider the following possible resources:

  • If a previous employee was trained on the software, are there training materials that can be reviewed or used for a self-study exercise?
  • Is there a forum or user’s group available in your community where you might begin to learn from other more-experienced users of the application?
  • Are there materials that came with the original software purchase that may be helpful? A quick-start or new-user guide could prove to be your new best friend.
  • Does the software company offer demonstrations or online webinars that might provide you with a helpful overview? If so, sign up for anything you can.

This blog is a great place for experienced ResultsPlus users to offer advice to new users. In the spirit of mentorship, we invite you to share what you found most helpful when you first got started with ResultsPlus.