The Training Page of Volunteer Today has practical trainer techniques and activities to make orientation sessions more productive and valuable. There are also ideas to help enhance the professional volunteer managers training level.

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~ December 2002 ~ Topics

VT Search It

Our intrepid Web Master has added a new feature to make your use of VT even easier. On the Navigation panel to the left of the Home page (and section pages, too!) you will find a link called "Search". Click on this link and the search engine Google shows up. You can type in a word, select whether you just want to check VT articles or the entire Web (We're easier to search, trust me!). The search engine finds the topic and directs you to previously written articles.

To test this search site the Web Master typed in "Dog,", selected "Search Volunteer Today" and sure enough, up popped an article on volunteers, pet loss and how to handle it. The archive sites of VT are in the process of being loaded with key words to help search way back in the history of this newsletter. Happy searching!

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Train Your Peers

The Association for Volunteer Administration will hold its International Conference on Volunteer Administration in Cincinnati, OH, October 15-18, 2003. They are currently seeking proposal for workshops and seminars at that event. If you are interested in training your peers this is the opportunity. Information on submitting proposals can be found at the AVA Web site. The proposals are due December 13, 2002.

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Things to Consider in Planning a Training Session

Training sessions that excite volunteer learners, provide information that "sticks," and are fun are no accident. When you plan a training session here are some things to consider.

  • Have written learning objectives with behavioral outcomes; i.e., the learner will be able to list 3 - 5 reasons why.
  • Training starts at the present level of understanding and learner identified needs.
  • Content and learning activities move from the simple to the complex.
  • Learning activities are tied to parts of the learner's experience.
  • Activities for learning move the learner toward the new, complex, or visions of a topic.
  • Trainer beliefs have little effect, unless the learner is receptive.
  • Learners have expectations based on previous training. The trainer needs to determine what those expectations are.
  • Know the physical setting and resources available for the training session.
  • In planning learning activities consider:
    • Giving learners the chance to practice
    • Providing options to assess performance
    • The opportunity to have fun or be satisfied.

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Volunteer Program Evaluation Series Announced

MBA Publishing, the owner of Volunteer Today, announced in November the launch of a new online series to aid volunteer managers in evaluating theirprograms. The Volunteer Program Evaluation Series (VPES) begins with four evaluations; Recruitment, Organizational Readiness, Volunteer and Staff Relations, and Risk Management. For a small fee subscribers can download an evaluation instrument designed to help assess a program and make plans for future improvements.

A unique feature of this series is the availability of consultants to the organization purchasing the evaluation. A package arrangement allows the buyer to receive the evaluation, a bibliography, and a one-hour phone consultation with the author following the completion of the evaluation. The fees have been kept below $100. In order to promote widespread use of the instruments.

The Volunteer Program Evaluation Series will eventually have over 25 separate evaluation tools to assess all aspects of volunteer program management for nonprofits, government based programs, and corporate volunteer programs. The nine authors are a line-up of experts noted world wide for their training and consulting skills, and experience across the field of volunteerism.

Visit the VPES Web site to see the authors, learn more about the program, and sign up for your first evaluation.

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Tips to Scribe


T- Touch the item you want the students to zero in on.
T- Turn toward the class.
T- Talk to the students, not the easel paper.
T- Tape goes on the easel paper sheet.
T- Tape to the wall.

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Save A Tree: Agendas that are Fun

Agendas are essential to effective training. Adults want to know the schedule, when breaks occur and what is coming up next. The agenda most often appears in the form of a handout or overhead transparency. There is another way to do an agenda for a training class.

Using easel paper, create a list with a time line to create a visual picture for the participants. Next to breaks put cutout pictures of a coffee cup. If there is a group activity, have a picture of people in a group, illustrate lunch or dinner with a knife and fork.

This type of agenda, saves a bit of paper, creates a visual pictures for everyone to see, and includes a bit of whimsy and fun. Be careful with it and it is reusable, too.

See our bookstore for
Training Techniques in Brief
by Stan Smith for information on agendas and more.


Close to 200 colleges and universities offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management. They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of these colleges. A full list resides at Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.

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