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Successful strategies to crack staff engagement

Learning NewsTowards Maturity

What do charities with highly engaged staff and volunteers do differently? Research with learning leaders in the charity sector, conducted by Towards Maturity, reveals lessons that practitioners from all sectors can learn from.

The latest research from Towards Maturity into the learning landscape of the charity sector contains both lowlights and highlights. Chief amongst these is the ability to use learning to boost the overall engagement of staff and volunteers. Some charities are doing this incredibly well, with others sadly lagging in the doldrums.

So, what exactly are the high performing charities doing differently that learning practitioners from all sectors could learn from?

Charities with a highly engaged workforce are using three key strategies:

1.      They address barriers that lead to poor engagement

- 53% pilot major learning initiatives to help match learning to need

- 45% include coaching and mentoring to minimise learner reluctance

2.      They empower learners to take responsibility

- 49% use support systems to promote self-reliance, rather than dependency

- 66% say workers have clear information on the learning opportunities available.

3.      They involve leaders in decision making and learner support

- 63% keep line managers and supervisors well informed

- 48% involve managers in designing appropriate solutions

Significantly, charities with highly engaged staff and volunteers are also doing things differently when designing learning content, with 61% using video, audio, images and animation and 48% integrating new concepts from theory into practice.

The report also highlights the benefits of collaboration, with members of the Charity Learning Consortium achieving far greater efficiency savings from using learning technologies:

- 75% of Consortium members say using learning technologies reduces time away from the job (average charity sector 42%)

- 65% reduce training costs (45%)

- 56% deliver great value for money (39%)

Martin Baker, founder and CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium, which supported this research, said: “Using learning technologies is a never-ending journey with inevitable highs and lows. Charities have also never faced so many challenges, and their vital services have never been more greatly needed. So it’s not surprising to see both lowlights and highlights in this report. But it’s comforting to know that charities that are leading the way when it comes to harnessing the benefits of learning technologies can share their expertise within the Consortium. Sharing knowledge and experience collaboratively in this way has real power, and our members are noticeably reaping the rewards.”

Laura Overton, founder and CEO of Towards Maturity, adds, “This report provides some really useful insights into the learning of charity organisations’ staff and volunteers and highlights ways in which real change can be made.  By encouraging leaders to work together with learners to empower and engage them, charities will be able to see improvements across performance and transform their way of working.”

Read the full report In Focus: Engaged Learners for effective tactics to improve workforce engagement and motivation, including tips from Laura Shaw at Cats Protection and Marie Duncan at Kibble Education and Care Centre. Download the report at:



About Charity Learning Consortium

Collaboration works! Bringing charitable organisations together enables the Consortium to offer cost effective, quality eLearning to more than a million people in the third sector across the UK.

More than that, our collaborative concept paves the way for eLearning success, with ongoing support, fantastic networking opportunities, relevant workshops and an inspirational Charity Learning Conference & Awards. 

Find out more at Connect with us onTwitter @charitylearning or call 08451 707 702




Data for this report is drawn from:
The Towards Maturity 2017 Benchmark research with data from over 700 global L&D leaders, reported in the Transformation Curve ( which is free to download thanks to the support of Towards Maturity Ambassadors.
Longitudinal data from 291 charities that took part in Towards Maturity’s Benchmark research from 2015 – 2017. These include 48 members of the Charity Learning Consortium. This data was analysed to compare those reporting high and low employee engagement.
Data from the Towards Maturity Learning Landscape research, gathered online during 2017 from a sample of over 10,000 learners.