A well-equipped leader is a leader that enables themselves to make the best decisions possible for their organization. For nonprofit leaders that means taking advantage of the multitudes of resources available in order to constantly grow and learn. Online resources can be especially helpful for nonprofit executives, as they are shareable and easily available if one has a device and the internet.

There are resources for grant writers, nonprofit generalists, keeping up with trends, how-to’s – the list goes on and on. The ranking below is only a handful of the most useful online tools nonprofit executives can take advantage of. They are so ranked by widespread usefulness, not necessarily endorsing one over the other.

Top 5 Essential Sites for Nonprofit Executives

1.) LinkedIn

This might be an odd one to have at the top of the list, but LinkedIn definitely deserves its top spot. The reason being that LinkedIn, as an online tool, can be a major conduit for free resources, training webinars, and connections. There are some paid features as well that are very useful. Such as their online training courses and recruitment tools. A nonprofit organization can use a LinkedIn page, though nonprofit executives should be utilizing their individual accounts to leverage and take advantage of the platform.

To get the most of LinkedIn, there are a couple of best practices. The first one being to make sure the individual’s account is up to date and professional. After that, add as many industry connections and follow as many industry leaders and nonprofit organizations as possible. The big names and some of the smaller ones. A great feature is the ability to follow “hashtags” on LinkedIn and this allows an individual to follow posts and articles on certain topics of interest. Several major nonprofit groups post articles and webinars for free through their LinkedIn page and by utilizing the platform and casting a wide net, a nonprofit leader can use LinkedIn exponentially. At the very least, an executive can connect with other nonprofit leaders.

2.) nonprofitready.org

nonprofitready.org is a completely free online training resource. A Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation program, this site truly is an immense trove of resources. Through partnerships with nonprofit management experts and online learning experts, one can create an account for free and start learning immediately. The only reason this site isn’t at the top of the list is that there are so many resources through this site that it can be a tad bit overwhelming at first and definitely takes some time to curate the content to an individual’s needs.

The site does have a few features to help the user navigate. One is the ability to create a playlist. The user can go in and look for certain types of training and resources, then save them to a playlist. A nonprofit executive could create a playlist of helpful training and tools for themselves, or for their entire team. The site also offers a free “Certificate in Nonprofit Essentials”.  These courses are short and cover quite a bit of the nonprofit essentials. This certificate program is great for Executives new to the nonprofit industry, or for nonprofit executives to share with board members or staff that are new to the nonprofit industry. The certification also qualifies for continuing education credits for Certified Fund Raising Executives (CFRE).

3.) Candid.

Candid. is the result of a merged Foundation Center and GuideStar under one umbrella. The Nonprofit Times wrote an article about a year ago on the two industry giants merging. While several of their resources are pay to play, there are still several free components nonprofit leaders can take advantage of. Also, staying aware of how some of their programs like GuideStar operates as a charity watchdog is helpful for nonprofit management.

This site offers clickable resources for research, data, training, website building, and staying on top of trends. The main page lists those resources plainly and the main use for the resource. And again, a lot of these are pay to play and some are worth the cost. However, their blog, newsletter and news site (Philanthropy News Digest) are very much worth following. More than likely, basic nonprofit searches will result in a blog from Candid. or a PND article.

4.) National Council of Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits serves as an advocate for policy and issues related to the nonprofit industry. They are the largest network of nonprofits in the US and are pretty decent at paying attention to the policy at all levels that could affect a nonprofit, including those more localized levels for smaller and mid-sized nonprofits. The National Council of Nonprofits also serves as an information resource for nonprofits.

Nonprofit executives can take advantage of the National Council of Nonprofits’ site in a couple of ways. Their website gives information on trends and current policy, and updates on current events. This could be helpful news and current event source for nonprofit executives. The website also has tools and resources available for training and development purposes. A nonprofit executive can use the online source to find resources on fundraising, nonprofit accounting, workplace policies, and more.

5.) Nonprofit AF

This last one is a bit more fun and a bit more contentious. Nonprofit AF is filled with nonprofit posts from author Vu Le that range from pointing out funder flaws to creating a “nonprofit haunted house”. Vu Le, the author of the site, has become a sort of “household name” amongst the nonprofit industry and has been seen speaking at major nonprofit conferences and events. He has also been on several podcasts. Agree or disagree with his points, Le has been pushing the boundaries and asks the kinds of questions nonprofit leaders should be considering.

One can visit the site and read all the posts. There is also the option to sign up for the Monday emails to get the posts regularly sent. Vu Le infuses passion and humor into his posts and the topics are varied. The scheduled Monday emails are a great way to start the week as they typically incite reflection, disagreement, or just good-natured nonprofit relevant fun.

6. Financing Solutions

Financing Solutions is a leading provider of Lines of Credit to smaller nonprofits whose yearly revenues are over $200,000. In the past, it was always hard for nonprofits to get a line of credit but Financing Solutions has made it easy, fast and inexpensive. Plus they charge zero to set up the credit line making it a great cash backup plan.

Many nonprofits have wanted a line of credit to be able to pay important expenses like payroll, rent, program costs, etc. when cash flow is temporarily down due to a delay in reimbursements.

Still More Resources Out There

There are still several more resources available for nonprofit leaders. These five listed are just some of the available resources, such as this site itself. Several different groups will list free resources or post free articles for nonprofits. So many people and organizations want the nonprofit industry to succeed and thrive because they understand that when charitable organizations thrive, we all as a collective community are better for it.