Charity Digital – Topics – Best Online Courses for the Charity Sector

Finances for the charity sector have taken a beating in recent years, particularly with reduced fundraising amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

2022 looks set to be another challenging year for charities as they continue to face a double threat to their finances, namely declining revenue and increasing demand for services.

Despite the lack of funding, charities still need to ensure that their staff and volunteers are equipped with the skills they need to support beneficiaries and good causes.

This is where free or low-cost online courses can really help, providing good quality training for charities in a cost effective way.

Here we look at some of the best online courses available to support charity workers.

National Cyber ​​Security Center

More and more areas of charitable organization and services are being delivered online, particularly through the proliferation of working from home.

This makes cybersecurity training even more vital. A good source of cost-effective online training is the National Cybersecurity Center, which offers distance learning options for newcomers and cybersecurity professionals.

This includes cybersecurity-focused e-learning courses for administrators as well as cybersecurity awareness guidance for all staff, including a specific e-learning course on cybersecurity issues.

The NSCS certified training program is delivered by a range of providers and the certification process is carried out by the certification body APMG.

Free Google Courses

For charities, especially smaller organizations with limited resources, Google offers a series of free online digital skills training courses on topics like online marketing and coding.

Some last only a few hours, while others can be long.

Among the longer ones is a 26-module, 40-hour course on Digital Marketing Fundamentals, which carries Interactive Advertising Bureau accreditation and is aimed at beginners.

Among the shorter courses offered is a two-module one-hour course to improve mobile marketing, called Connect with customers over mobile.

Social Change Directory

The charity sector organization Directory of Social Change offers several trainings with charity sector experts on Zoom.

Recent courses include a one-day course on the duties of a fiduciary. This is for new members and long-time members of the charity’s board of directors. The cost to participate is £199 for small charities and £249 for large organizations with a turnover of over £500,000 per year.

Another course offers guidance on dynamic leadership approaches for those new to a leadership role or existing leaders looking to hone their skills. This half-day course on Zoom costs between £99 and £149 depending on the size of the charity booking.


Business leader charity ACEVO offers several online training options for industry leaders.

This includes a discounted online learning program offered by the Institute of Leadership and Management and made available to ACEVO members at a discounted rate.

The program is organized according to the learner’s availability, to adapt to their workload and responsibilities.

ACEVO also provides mentoring skills training to charity leaders. Its online mentoring training program is run in partnership with the Scottish Mentoring Network, for ACEVO members who are mentors. This gives charity mentors access to a free online accredited course on prior knowledge and understanding of mentoring.

MA in a day

For charity professionals looking to advance their academic understanding of fundraising, the University of Kent offers free online access to lectures and resources for its Masters in Philanthropic Studies.

The goal of its online MA in a Day course is to provide charity professionals with a better understanding of the latest ideas and academic perspectives on giving.

This includes lectures on philanthropy and the human condition as well as sessions on volunteerism and the art and science of fundraising.


Workplace-focused social media platform LinkedIn offers access to more than 16,000 online courses from experts in multiple fields. Its LinkedIn Learning hub includes course areas such as Excel data visualization as well as understanding Google Apps and writing advertising copy.

LinkedIn offers a free one-month subscription and pricing options aimed at nonprofits.

Webinars and workshops

Online webinars and workshops can offer a more relaxed form of training for charity professionals.

For example, Charity Digital offers a range of such webinars focusing on issues such as digital strategy, email marketing, and developing social media skills.

Among the most recent is a Five Steps to Improve Charity Safety event in February 2022, with expert advice from Microsoft Tech for Social Impact.

Another source of charity webinar training is the online fundraising platform JustGiving. This has a library of webinars covering issues like How to Host a Successful Christmas Appeal and Practical Tips for Successful Fundraising for a Virtual Event.

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