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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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~ October 2003 ~ Topics

Generating Ideas on a Topic

The more interactive a training session for volunteers the higher the retention level. How can you jump-start discussion of some important issues when training volunteers that gets them thinking about the topic under discussion? The “Laundry List” is a terrific way to get people’s brains on the topic you are about to address.List Image

The “Laundry List” begins by asking people to partner with someone in the group they do not know or do not know well. You can use small groups to do this, but this is an exercise where small is better. Then ask them to develop a “laundry list” of thoughts, ideas, and questions on the topic.

Potential Topics:

  • Confidentiality
  • Report Writing
  • Appropriate Volunteer Behavior/Attire
  • History of the Organization
  • How To Plan A Meeting

Give about 5 –8 minutes for this. To debrief this exercise, go from group to group, getting one idea for a master list. No duplicates. Record the ideas on easel paper. When you are done with training, be sure to check that every item on the laundry list has been discussed and review with the participants too.

Arrow Image A Review Dice Game Arrow Image

Reviewing is an important part of a training session that is often overlooked. A review obliges the learner to recap in their mind the learnings from the session. It helps bring vague concepts into focus and is a last opportunity for the trainer to indicate what is important and what is not from the training session. Here is an interactive game that is fun and provides the chance to review key concepts.

Develop a group of questions with enough for each person in the training. Write the questions on 3 x 5 cards. Number the questions from 2 to 12. You can make multiple sets of questions for larger groups. Just remember to ask the question only once.

Each person throws a set of dice and you (variation - or another learner) ask the question that corresponds to the number. While one person starts the answer, encourage the other participants to jump in and share information on the same topic. The idea is for everyone to be participating in the review. And the more fun and laughter the better.

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The Dr. Is In And It is Free
at the
International Conference on Volunteer Administration
Cincinnati, Ohio October 15 – 18, 2003
Consultations on the Management and Administration of Volunteer Programs, World Renown Consultants Focus on Your Program:
Georgean Johnson-Coffey Mary Merrill
Nancy Macduff Connie Pirtle - Cancelled - updated 10/6/03

Doctor ImageMacduff/Bunt Associates, in association with individual consultants, offers FREE 30 minute consultations with one of four experienced managers of volunteer programs who are currently doing consulting and training on all aspects of volunteerism. Sign-Up NOW by emailing editor@volunteertoday.com and requesting a consultant and a time slot. We will post the updated schedules daily (or more often if needed). Reservations will be based on a first come, first serve basis. Time conflicts will be accommodated as much as possible. Sign up for an available consultation slot. They are limited. To see the schedule, click here then email us for your reservation. Then visit the MBA booth at the conference to meet your consultant. If slots are available, you will be able to sign up at the conferencealso.

Hope to see you at the 2003 ICVA Conference!

Interested in more information on training? Check out our online bookstore for Training Techniques in Brief, authored by Stan Smith. Training Book Image Episodic Volunteering book Image


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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