Corporations often use learning management systems (LMS) to train employees, but these systems are equally useful in the nonprofit sector. In particular, an LMS can be a very low-cost method to educate members within the organization as well as to educate the public at large. Social advocacy organizations, public charities, and professional organizations are just three types of nonprofit sector organizations that can benefit from using an LMS. Read on for more ideas about LMS uses in the nonprofit sector.

Social Advocacy Organizations

Typically, when we think of social advocacy organizations we think of organizations such as the NAACP, MADD, and Greepeace. According to Wikipedia, they are defined as “A social advocacy organization is created in order to influence public opinion and/or policy.”1

greenpeaceThe best way to think about social advocacy organizations is that they are looking to create some type of broad social change. And they can achieve this change by educating the public and politicians about their causes. Since education is a key component, an LMS is an ideal way to get the word out about their cause.

As one hypothetical example, MADD could use an LMS to create an online course that educates students about the dangers of drunk driving. The course could be delivered online, and students at universities could gain access to the course through a free public link.

Students could be motivated to complete the course through gamification. Gamified courses use competitive incentive to “inspire” learners. For example, students who pass the course would be automatically entered into a raffle and the winner would receive a gift card that could be used at the university’s coffee shop.

Public Charities

One characteristic of public charities is that they provide either low-cost or free services. Libraries and hospitals are just two examples of organizations that may qualify as a public charity. And each of these organizations could greatly benefit from the use of an LMS.

Libraries could provide free courses through their LMS to benefit members of the community. Many libraries host short courses or presentations for community members on a variety of topics. The live courses could then be videotaped, uploaded to the LMS, and then provided for community members free of charge.

medical doctorHospitals can use an LMS to minimize the work needed to train hospital staff. Training employees in the newest technologies and using the LMS as a tool for compliance training are just two of the possible use cases. And using an LMS would cut down on training costs, as well as minimize the paperwork involved in training its employees.

Professional Associations

A professional association is a “group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation”2 Some of the more well-known associations are the National Association of Realtors, the American Medical Association, and the American Bar Association.

Since these organizations function to maintain a high-level of quality within their organizations, continuing education is no doubt an integral part of an organization’s mission statement. And this is where an LMS could greatly help.

Providing the eLearning through an LMS would make it possible to create online courses that its members could take wherever they are located. The governing body could also get a sense as to what type of training is most needed through an LMS course reporting functionality. In addition, the online course could be used as a means for re-certification, ensuring that all of the members are continually being educated on the most up-to-date practices.


The LMS is not just for private corporations.  There are many use cases for the LMS in the non-profit sector. And using an LMS can be a very cost effective way to educate members of the non-profit, as well as the general public.

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