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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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| ~ November 2002 ~ Topics
Variety in Delivering Training
The classroom is not the only vehicle where training
can be delivered. There are many other ways to expand learning for volunteers
or get the basics to new comers. Many of them are cost-effective, as
well. Here are some potential vehicles.
| Brown-bag lunches
for volunteers can be used for training
to bring a lunch, reserve a conference room, and present training
on a simple topic that can be covered in 30 - 45 minutes.
| Create an organizational
staff can be trained together on some topics. Work with those who
do employee training to see if the volunteers and staff cannot be
trained together. It saves money, these are people who will be working
together, and provides the opportunity for staff to find volunteer
"friends" and vice-versa.
| Send a volunteer
or two to specialized training
||Ask them to return
prepared to conduct a training session for other volunteers ( or
staff, if appropriate).
| Book clubs are hot
||Put together a
book club that meets once a quarter. Select books about those served
by the organization. Have the club led by volunteers and invite
appropriate staff to participate. Make the meetings of the group
convenient to the time the volunteers serve to make it easy for
them to attend.
| Create job aids
||These are instruction
sheets (laminated for multiple use) that outline how to do a task
and can be left where volunteers do the actual work. It should be
a step by step approach to how to complete a task. Be sure to include
diagrams and pictures.
Teaching Decision Making
Volunteers are quite often in the position of making
decisions. Sometimes it is a board or advisory group determining the
fate of programs or staff in the haggles over a budget or it might be
when a client asks a volunteer to do something that skirts the edge
of what is appropriate and recommended.
One way to make decisions is to engage in a personal dialog that requires
the use of the left and right side of the brain.
Left side = sensible, reasonable, business-like,
Right side = illogical, mysterious, playful, intuitive
1. Provide the volunteer with a decision they might
have to make. It is very useful to use actual situations from the past,
without giving away the outcome until the exercise is over.
2. Distribute this worksheet. And explain it to the
Right Brain/Left Brain Decision Making
| Who Would
Support This Decision?
|| Who would
Support this Decision?
3. List all the reasons you can think of to support
each of the options, using both sides of your brain. Then list the people
who would support each side. You can repeat this option for as many
choices as you have.
4. Treat this exercise like a debate with yourself.
Here are some questions to help that process.
- How do you feel about each argument?
- What do you think about each argument?
- What does this tell you?
- Notice who might be on each side of the argument.
- Do the opinions of these people matter in this situation?
- What does their position tell you?
And remember what Mae West said,
"Whenever I have a choice between two evils, I always choose
the one I haven't tried before."
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COLLEGE PROGRAMS ON NONPROFIT AND VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT
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 http://pirate.shu.edu/~mirabero.
Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with
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