The Training page for Volunteer Today has historically
focused on tips for trainers. Each issue will now have information on some aspect of professional development
for managers of volunteers and some articles on how to be a better trainer
of volunteers. The author of this page, Nancy Macduff, is open to ideas
and suggestions from readers on what might be useful information in the
area of professional development. You can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are our organizations failing because of technology,
rather than being helped by technology? Arnold Brown suggests that the
increasing capacity of technology and the complexity of systems have created
an environment where the procedures and structure are more important than
the results. As a side note he refers to the uses to which humans are
putting their brains and the effect of that.
He references Blink and The Tipping Point,
by Malcolm Gladwell, who maintains that instinctive judgments are better
than those made with loads and loads of new information. Here are some
of his remarks.
Some research shows that thinking too hard about simple actions slows
down the learning process and the circuits that do the processing.
Brain research on Buddhist monks shows that how you think, not what
you think, can improve brain activity. In fact meditation can change
The stress of taking exams hinders flexible thinking and impairs student's
ability to solve complex problems.
Feedback on your work, a training session, or written
document comes in the form of constructive criticism. Professionals learn
to ask for criticism-the constructive variety-in order to grow and stay
fresh in the field of endeavor. Here are some tips to improve your hearing
and benefiting from the feedback.
Choose the persons giving feedback carefully. Do not ask a chronic
"negativist" to provide feedback. Those with hidden agendas,
or limited vision are not people that can help, either. You need to
avoid those who would never criticize for fear of hurting your feelings.
Honest, clear, helpful, and with expertise necessary to comment in the
Ask more than one person. If you hear from only one person, you have
opinions, but with little validity. Somewhere between 3 - 6 people providing
feedback is ideal. Number of individuals needed depends on the complexity
of that being reviewed.
Set the parameters for the critics. To help the persons giving feedback,
tell them what you want. If all you are seeking is grammar checking
on a written document, say that. "Tell me what you think"
is not sufficient information to guide the person in giving you useful
Assess whether you really want feedback. Criticism is hard to take,
no matter how kindly offered. You must accept it gracefully, remembering
the person is doing what you requested and the output will be better
for it. It is the mark of a professional.
We now have downloadable books available in PDF format.
Check out our online
bookstore for Handling Problem Volunteers by Steve McCurley and
Sue Vineyard now available electronically.
Earn a professional development certificate
in volunteer administration online--standard and advanced certificates
are available. Sign up any time, do assignments at your own pace,
and work on projects directly related to the work you do. For
more information on the Washington State University Volunteer
Management Certificate Program go to: http://capps.wsu.edu/certificates/vmcp/default.asp.
Certified in Volunteer Administration
Today encourages mangers of volunteers to enhance their skills and
effectiveness on the job through a variety of educational opportunities.
Experienced managers of volunteers can highlight that skill achievement
by seeking the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) endorsement.
The Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA) advances
the profession and practice of volunteer resource management by certifying
individuals who demonstrate knowledge and competence in the leadership
of volunteers. Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) is an international
credential awarded to practitioners with at least 3 years of experience
who successfully complete an exam and written portfolio process. Originally
developed by the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA) several
decades ago, the credentialing program is now sponsored by the Council
for Certification in Volunteer Administration. For detailed information
visit their Web site at: http://www.cvacert.org.
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://tltc.shu.edu/npo/.
Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with
Interested in assessing Recruiting in your program?