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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


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 manager's training level.

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Conferences for Volunteer Managers

Squiggly Bullet Image The Association for Volunteer Administration holds its international conference October 15 – 18, 2003 in Cincinnati, OH. The conference holds workshops, seminars and plenary sessions for the beginning volunteer manager or more experienced ones. Speakers include Marty Evans, President of Red Cross, Chris Downie, of SparksPeople Service, and Courtney Anderson. Sessions are held in two conference hotels, the Hyatt Regency-Cincinnati and Hilton Netherland Plaza. For more information on registration visit the AVA web site at http://www.AVAintl.org.

Squiggly Bullet Image Do you manage a library volunteer program? Here is a conference for you. Prior to the Association for Volunteer Administration in October (see above), the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are hosting a conference, "Building Library Volunteer Resources: Successful Approaches for Excellent Service" on October 15, 2003. Nationally recognized library volunteerism experts will share strategies and techniques for highly effective library programs using real life models and examples. Staff from all types of libraries will network, share insights, and explore ways to build volunteer involvement. For more information on this conference contact: Georgean Johnson-Coffey at georgeanjc@aol.com or call 260-338-1414 or Mary Merrill at marymerrill@merrillassociates.net or call 614-262-8219.

Teaching a Procedure

Volunteers are often asked to complete a multi-layered procedure or process; check someone into an event or facility; process money, check something in or out, complete a report and submit it. Training for these processes or procedures usually consists of sample forms and a brief lecture on how to do it. Sometimes that works, but including some interactive exercises into this type of training can enhance the levels of retention for the learner.

Here are some ways to make the teaching of procedures or processes more interactive:

Squiggly Bullet Image Ask the participants to demonstrate the process or procedure, using other people in the session in the demonstration.
Squiggly Bullet Image Create several different scenarios that require the use of the procedure and ask each learner to demonstrate how he/she would implement the steps. Have the volunteer demonstrate it for the rest of the group.
Squiggly Bullet Image Create large laminated cards with each card carrying only one part of the steps in the procedure or process. Give each participant one of the cards. Then ask the group to arrange themselves in the correct order. A variation on this would be to give different scenarios that would require a different sequence in the procedure. Read the scenario and have the group rearrange the steps. Be sure to discuss the changes after each move.

Arranging Pairs or Teams of Two

Moving people around to work with new people is a useful part of training. Here are some ways that pairs or teams can be formed for a new learning activity. Screen Beans Climbers Image

Squiggly Bullet Image Find someone who hates the same vegetable you hate.
Squiggly Bullet Image Find someone who has a car the same color as yours.
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Find someone who has the same type of pet you have.
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Find someone who hates a specific creature the way you do (examples, beetles, spiders, toads, frogs, snakes, caterpillars, dogs, cats, birds, etc.).
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Find someone who likes the same movie you do.
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Find someone who is wearing clothing that is similar in color to yours.
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Find someone who would enjoy the same vacation spot (beach, mountains, just staying home, theme park, etc.).

Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for An Introduction to Helping Adults Learn and Change, authored by Russell D. Robinson. Recruiting & Retention book Image Helping Adults Learn Book

Interested in assessing volunteer and staff relations in your program?

Looking for help from an expert?

Get help with one of the Volunteer Program Evaluation Series.


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/kellogg.html. Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.

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