An important part of volunteer engagement is equipping volunteers for their tasks. You want to ensure they have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to serve successfully. Additionally, many volunteers view service as a way to develop or improve skills, so training is a way to further their personal and professional development.
Without proper training, individuals may:
- Perform their duties poorly or step outside of their boundaries
- Not take all proper safety precautions
- “Feel lost” while doing their task and not return
- Have a negative experience and tell others about it, thus undermining the image of the organization
These four steps can guide you in training your volunteers.
Step 1: Identify Training Needs
Think about the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that volunteers need to perform their duties well and happily. It may include an in-depth orientation to your organization’s policies and procedures, specific skills needed to complete a project (anything from how to use a hammer to how to set up an Excel spreadsheet), or “soft skills” such as problem solving or communication.
Step 2: Design Training
- Be relevant
- Build on participants’ experience
- Be interactive
- Communicate key lessons through visual, auditory and experiential modes
- Allow for participant to apply learning
- Help to solve problems
- Demonstrate immediate value
Step 3: Deliver Training
Use a method that works for your population.
- May want the training to be person-to-person, online or use videos, manuals, or a website
- May want the training to be interactive
- The training should be convenient for your population
- Use social networking tools
Step 4: Assess and Refine Training
- Written participant evaluations
- A reflection exercise at the end of the training
- “Check-in” sessions
For more training resource, check out the HandsOn Trainer’s Toolbox.