Reenact Events as Training Tool
Teaching volunteers to deal with the more ticklish issues of working with clients can be more than a lecture. In fact, lecture is the least effective way to have volunteers truly understand the nuances of issues like confidentiality, safety and health policies, client rights, harassment, or so many other things. Reenactment of events can be a powerful teaching tool.
Write up a "realistic" scenario of an incident or event in the history of the organization that relates to the policies you are trying to teach the volunteers. For example, suppose some volunteers ignored a fire alarm in the organization's building and stood around drinking coffee. You have decided to do refresher training for all volunteers on the policies related to health and safety. You could use this as a scenario.
Be sure to write up the details of the event so everyone can understand what is happening and who did what and why. Imagine you are collecting newspaper clippings in order to share the information.
Next, select members of the volunteer trainees to reenact the incident for the group. Assign such positions as the client, the staff who were involved, fire personnel, and other individuals impacted by the event.
The volunteers selected to play the various "parts," then reenact the incident. The other volunteers observe.
Distribute copies of the organizational policies and ask the volunteers to determine which policies apply in this situation. Much more fun and likely to stick with them longer than a lecture.
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Sharpen Word Usage
Training volunteer usually involves some type of writing. Here is a quiz to determine your skill with frequently misused terms or words.
Directions: Read each sentence and determine which of the two words is correct to complete the sense of the sentence. Write your choice in the right hand column. To check your answers go to the Recruiting and Retention page.
To check your answers go to the Recruiting and Retention page.
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Training Volunteers to Work with Non-English Speakers
Most work places are full of people with different language histories. Perhaps their first language was Vietnamese, or Russian, or Spanish. While they are fluent in English and use it in the work place, it is nice to be greeted or thanked in the native language. Volunteers can be trained in such phrases as "Please," "Thank you," "Good morning," or "Goodbye." This is also a nice touch when volunteers deal with the public who speak many different languages.
Begin by learning the phrases, creating some "cheat sheets" with the words and their definition in English and phonetic pronunciation. Then have some practice sessions for volunteers. Work with supervisors to see if employees can help as "language coaches" as the volunteers learn to greet people in their native language.
Interested in more information on training? Check out our online bookstore for Building Better Relationships with Volunteers, authored by Nan Hawthorne and The Great Trainer's Guide by Sue Vineyard.
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/kellogg.html. Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.
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