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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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~ March 2004 ~ Topics

Training Certificate for Managers of Volunteers-RESCHEDULED FOR 2005

Washington State University is sponsoring a weeklong training for managers of volunteers that leads to a certificate. May 18-21, 2004, at the WSU North Olympic Peninsula Learning Center, near Port Townsend, WA. This four day learning community engages the professional manager in a "case" model learning experience, covering such topics as recruiting, training, evaluation, management and supervision, and recognition. There will also be optional sessions on Managing Risks, Diversifying the Volunteer Pool, Volunteer Middle Managers, and the Internet as a Managers Next Best Friend. Attendance and completion of on site assignments leads to the Volunteer Management Certificate awarded by Washington State University.

Join your professional colleagues for a week of study in a beautiful setting at the foot of the Olympic Mountains. Call it an Edu-Holiday. Then it is tax deduction. Come early to see the sites or stay late to relax and drink in the spirit of the Northwest.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE APRIL 15, 2004. Cost $799. For more information contact Robert Force at force@wsu.edu.

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Charity Channel

Managers of volunteers are always in a mode of learning new things about old problems. Charity Channel is one of the oldest (1991) sites for providing information on nonprofits and volunteer management. It is jam packed with all manner of information and connections.

The best way to begin is with a tour. There are member areas, public areas, e-newsletters on a variety of topics (you must sign up for these), information on grants, and so much more. I recently took a "tour" and when done was much more knowledgeable about where to go to get what I was looking for. So, start with the tour. Like Volunteer Today, this a resource to list as a "favorite" or "bookmark" on your Web browser.

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PowerPoint Revisited

PowerPoint, the Microsoft "slideware" program, has its critics. A number of well-placed technology leaders are disparaging of the impact PowerPoint has in "dumbing" down content for trainees. This loathing of PowerPoint was highlighted recently in a book by David Byrne, the rock musician. He produced a nearly one hundred page book in which he used graphs, charts, and arrows from PowerPoint to create "art" work. The artwork highlights how "content" or meaning can be lost with all the graphics in PowerPoint. This is a coffee-table book with pictures to illustrate his take on the impact of PowerPoint.

Byrne ponders the ways in which PowerPoint has made people "stupid" by showing charts gone astray, fields of curved arrows that go nowhere, and more. His point is that by having learners focus on the fancy graphics and animation, people are lulled into complacency, rather than using ears, eyes, and brains to challenge a speaker’s ideas.

Byrne is not alone in his criticism of PowerPoint as a training tool. Vint Cerf, a founder of the Internet and MCI executive, says he avoids using PowerPoint because it makes people really listen, rather than have the distraction of charts. Edward Tufte, a Yale professor, believes that PowerPoint’s emphasis on format can trivialize content. One of the cleverest of the critics is Peter Norvig, an engineering director at Google. He took Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and spoofed it as a PowerPoint presentation.

What is the point of all this for the manager of volunteers? Think about any training device (PowerPoint, overhead, easel paper) you use. Judge its effectiveness related to the learning objectives. And always remember that adults learn the best and retain the most when they are interacting with the information in some way!

Interested in more information on training? Check out our online bookstore for Training Techniques in Brief, authored by Stan Smith and The Great Trainer's Guide by Sue Vineyard. Episodic Volunteering book Image The Great Trainer's Guide 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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