LMS for Nonprofits: 5 Successful Case Studies

Donors. Volunteers. Employees. Board members.

It takes a lot of people for a nonprofit organization to make a difference, whether it’s on a local or global level. More so, it takes a lot of time and effort to get all those people to understand and effectively advance a nonprofit’s mission.

Learning management systems (LMSs) are just as beneficial to nonprofits as they are to for-profit businesses and enterprises. The key is in knowing how to leverage the technology.

Benefits for Nonprofits

An LMS can disseminate knowledge and train people. When the solution is used effectively, a nonprofit can reap several benefits, including:

  • Easy onboarding – Whether for a new employee or a new volunteer, you can store and access materials that will help you bring the person up to speed on your history and mission. These materials can also be sent to donors who want to learn more about the organization. Having everyone on the same page creates a greater sense of community, which can lead to people being more innovative with ways to expand on the nonprofit’s mission.
  • Increased funding – Well-trained employees and volunteers tend to generate more revenue. An LMS can help nonprofit organizations create, store and leverage training courses for critical skills, like effective fundraising or grant proposal writing.
  • Reduced training costs – Instead of relying on in-person training, and all the costs associated with it, an LMS opens the door to online learning, mobile learning and blended learning methods, which allow learners to access materials anytime, anywhere. This reduces or eliminates costs for scheduling trainers, booking rooms and any associated travel costs. Many LMSs also have social learning features that can give learners who are in different locations a sense of being part of a group.
  • Compliance & clearance tracking – An LMS allows you to stay up-to-date on required legal compliance and clearances for your volunteers and employees. The solution gives you the ability to track who still needs to complete required training, as well as prompt them to do so.

We’ve highlighted five case studies that show how nonprofit organizations can use learning management software to their advantage.

5 Nonprofit Case Studies

Vendor: Ziiva  Client: Pet Partners  Location: Bellevue, WA

Pet Partners is the nation’s largest nonprofit for volunteer teams of animal handlers that provide animal-assisted interventions. The Pet Partners curriculum trains and evaluates volunteers and their pets for animal therapy programs that visit facilities such as hospitals, veterans’ centers, courtrooms, schools and more.

Pet Partners needed a customizable learning platform that could easily integrate into its existing systems, such as Salesforce CRM. In addition to the traditional LMS features for training, to assign, Pet Partners needed the ability to track qualified certifications for both humans and their pets.

Ziiva’s Prosperity LMS offered a flexible architecture, which gave Pet Partners the ability to make quick and affordable customizations that met all the organization’s needs. The Prosperity implementation and development teams also worked with Pet Partners’ administrative and technical staff to integrate the LMS with existing applications and launch a new learning platform for instructors and volunteers nationwide.

Vendor: Skillsoft  Client: CompTIA  Location: Downers Grove, IL

CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) is a nonprofit IT trade association. It provides IT education and certification, advocacy on behalf of the IT industry and philanthropic resources that support employment in IT for disadvantaged people.

To provide valuable services to those in need, CompTIA needed donated training materials to support its Online Training Program.

Skillsoft donated its IT Skills Courseware collection to CompTIA. This allowed the nonprofit to provide interactive instruction materials for its IT certification courses. To test their knowledge and practice skills from the course materials, students could easily access both IT manuals and practice exams.

Vendor: Instructure  Client: Foundation Center  Location: New York City

Foundation Center is an organization that provides free and low-cost online courses and tutorials to teach critical fundraising, research and grant proposal writing skills to people within philanthropy.

Foundation Center recognized the potential international growth for its online learning services and decided to overhaul its elearning program. After consulting experts from Fielding Graduate University, Foundation Center set out to upgrade to a learning platform that provided:

  • Mobile access to learning materials
  • An intuitive interface
  • User-friendly course creation and management tools
  • The potential for social learning

Based on recommendations from elearning consultants, Foundation Center decided to launch Instructure’s LMS, Bridge. With the Bridge Premium Implementation Package, which provides onsite consulting, planning, training and adoption services, the nonprofit was able to ensure a smooth transition for users. Since the initial launch, Foundation Center’s course enrollment has increased while the amount of complaints have decreased.

Vendor: Brainier  Client: American Geophysical Union  Location: Washington D.C.

American Geophysical Union (AGU) is an international nonprofit scientific association with more than 62,000 members.

AGU needed to save training materials and other employee-related items in an easily accessible location. In addition to tracking its traditional elearning content, AGU wanted a platform that could link to outside websites and record when learners accessed external content. Finally, AGU also required a learning platform that could integrate with its existing human capital management system (HCM) to centralize its HR data and documents.

The Brainier support team worked closely with AGU’s HR team to mirror the nonprofit’s existing organization levels in Brainier’s LMS, élan. This allowed AGU to easily push specific training to an individual or group. As a part of Brainier’s standard implementation process, webinar sessions and hands-on training activities were customized to the different roles defined in the LMS system.

With Brainier, AGU can easily add materials like HR handbooks and learning documents that compliment courses found in the video library. Brainier was also integrated with the nonprofit’s HCM, allowing AGU to track and run reports on trainee course progression.

Read the full AGU Case Study by Brainier.

Vendor: eLogic Learning  Client: PMS  Location: Santa Fe, NM

Presbyterian Medical Services (PMS) provides medical care, counseling, education, child/senior services, home care and hospice to the underserved communities of New Mexico.

The nonprofit organization must manage annual staff training requirements and report to multiple funding and regulatory agencies on a regular basis. PMS outgrew its existing learning management platform, which made the administrators’ workloads heavier than necessary. To streamline tasks, PMS required a learning management system that:

  • Automatically notified employees of training requirements
  • Tracked and saved course completion data for reports
  • Eliminated the hassle of paper-based course completion documents
  • Stored necessary documents for auditors
  • Tracked live-session data
  • Was user-friendly to boost training compliance

eLogic’s eSSential LMS provided PMS’s administrators with the scalable functionality they needed to streamline and automate various tasks that were major pain points before. This included more efficient live-training session scheduling that synced with Outlook calendars, automatic notifications sent to students, and more accessibility to real-time learning data for certification tracking and audit reports.

Read the full case study by eLogic Learning.

Additional Resources

Looking for the right learning management solution for your nonprofit? Download our Buyer’s Guide for tips on evaluating LMS solutions for your specific needs. You can also check out our LMS Reviews page to compare more than 30 leading learning management software vendors.

7 Critical Questions To Ask A Potential LMS Vendor

Choosing a LMS vendor is all about finding the right fit. Download our free whitepaper to make sure you're asking the right questions.Download Now


  1. John Battaglia says

    Thanks for this article! I spent 6 years in the nonprofit industry, and wholeheartedly agree with you–an LMS is invaluable for great nonprofit work! We had a very poor LMS, and I think we missed an opportunity to encourage healthy learning and retention for our volunteers and board members. I recently learned about a startup called Lessonly that has fantastic online training software. I wish my organization had it when I was training volunteers! Again, thanks for your insight! Looking forward to reading more!