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Volunteer Training and Professional Development

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: editor@volunteertoday.com.

~ March 2008 ~

Everyone Can Teach

Do you have trouble getting people to participate during training sessions?  Here is a simple exercise to help adults understand that everyone can teach and it increases participation.

Supplies:        3X5 cards with line
                  Pencils or pens

  1. Hand out cards to participants during the training session.  At an appropriate time to break, ask each person to write a question about the material the group has been learning?
  2. Collect the cards, shuffle and re-distribute to each person in the room.  Be sure people do not receive their own card. 
  3. Ask for a volunteer to read the question on their card and give the answer to the question.
  4. Ask the entire group to add their ideas to what the person has said in answer to the question. 
  5. Keep doing this until there are no more volunteers.

New Vitality for Volunteer Programs:  New Models, New People, New Strategies  

New Vitality for Volunteer Programs:  New Models, New People, New Strategies  
Workshop:  Friday, March 7, 2008
9:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Sponsored by  The Nonprofit Center of South Puget Sound
Tacoma, WA

It is getting harder and harder to find volunteers.  What is happening? Spend the day with nationally known author and trainer Nancy Macduff as she leads us in a lively exploration of the issues facing those who manage volunteers.  Explore a new model of volunteering based on how people are asking to volunteer.  Review the practical strategies for recruiting and managing traditional and non-traditional forms of volunteering.  Go home with practical techniques to enhance your volunteer program.  For registration information contact http://www.npcenter.org.

Training Group Closure

Some groups of volunteers spend hours together during training.  Just going home can seem like a let down.  Here is a short way of closing on the positive for the participants.

Purpose:  To have participants take away a positive feeling about their experience.

  1. Explain that each person will be asked to tell one quality or feeling they are taking away from their training experience.
  2. It is best for the trainer to begin in order to model what is expected.
  3. Example, “My name is Juanita and I take away a feeling of support from the group that I will need in my volunteer assignment.

Volunteer Management Certificate Program

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 (CVA)

Volunteer 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.


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 this list.

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