Archives Search
Ask Connie
Boards & Committees
Calendar of Events
Internet Resources
Reviews: Books and Resources
Tech Tips
Volunteer Program Evaluation Series
Who We Are
Email Us
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.

~ June 2009 ~


Improve Your PowerPoint Presentations


Improve Your PowerPoint Presentations

         Some learner’s cringe when the trainer unpacks the computer and fires up the PowerPoint slides.  Avoid being the trainer everyone hates to see coming.  Apply these tips and hints to your next presentation.

Tips for Making Effective PowerPoint Presentations

1.  Use the slide master feature to create a consistent and simple design template.  It is fine to vary the content presentation (i.e. bulleted list, 2-column text, text & image), but be consistent with other elements such as font, colors, and background.

2.  Simplify and limit the number of words on each screen.  Use key phrases and include only essential information.

3.  Limit punctuation and avoid putting words in all capital letters. Empty space on the slide will enhance readability.

4.  Use contrasting colors for text and background.  Dark text on a light background is best.  Patterned backgrounds can reduce readability of text.

5.  Avoid the use of flashy transitions such as text fly-ins.  These features may seem impressive at first, but are distracting and get old quickly.

6.  Overuse of special effects such as animation and sounds may make your presentation "cutesy" and could negatively impact your credibility.

7.  Use good quality images that reinforce and complement your message. Ensure that your images maintain their impact and resolution when projected on a larger screen.  Be sure they are copyright free.

8.  If you use builds, have content appear on the screen in a consistent, simple manner; from the top or left is best.  Only "build" screens when necessary to make your point because they can slow your presentation.

9.  Limit the number of slides.  Presenters who constantly "flip" to the next slide are likely to lose their audience

10.  Learn to navigate your presentation in a non-linear fashion. PowerPoint allows the presenter to jump ahead or back without having to page through all the interim slides.

11.  Know how to and practice moving forward AND backward within your presentation.  Audiences often ask to see the previous screen again.

12.  If possible, view your slides on the screen you'll be using for your presentation.  Make sure they are readable from the back row seats.  Text and graphics should be large enough to read, but not so large as to appear "loud."

13.  Have a Plan B in the event of technical difficulties.  Remember that transparencies and handouts will not show animation or other special effects.

14.  Practice with someone who has never seen your presentation.  Ask them for honest feedback about colors, content, and any effects or graphics you've included.

15.  Do not read from your slides.  The content of your slides is for the audience, not for the presenter.

16.  Do not speak to your slides.  Many presenters face the direction of their presentation rather than their audience.

17.  Do not apologize for anything in your presentation.  If you believe something will be hard to read or understand, don't use it.

18.  When possible, run your presentation from the hard disk rather than a floppy disk.  Running from a floppy disk may slow your presentation.


Return to Top

Professional Development

Ideas, theories, information, and training for those who manage the work of volunteers


Portland State University Training for Managers of Volunteer Programs

Institute for Nonprofit Management --Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Courses

Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program

Register Now for Summer Online Courses

Portland State University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and the Department of Extended Studies have partnered to offer an educational series designed to build your volunteer program to standards of excellence and provide professional development for you.

Volunteers are engaged in programs and projects around the world in new and exciting ways.  Recruiting and organizing them is art and science. This new program teaches you cutting edge strategies to engage volunteers.

The Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program (VELP) offers two formats to educate professionals and others on how to successfully engage and lead volunteers.  Formats provide hands-on practical exercises and experiences for learners at all levels to enhance their work with volunteers.

Learning Option 1- Online course in Volunteer Engagement and Leadership-Students from around the world engage in first class instructions from seasoned veterans in the organization of a volunteer program.  Topics include recruiting, screening, planning, marketing, supervision, evaluation, and recognition, to name a few.  This is an asynchronous class. For more information visit the PSU Web site.

Learning Option 2-Online learning is not for everyone, so the Institute for Nonprofit Management provides the same content as the online course, but in a face-to-face format.  Visit the INPM Web site for more detailed information on the open enrollment Institute or one tailored to a single group. http://www.extended.pdx.edu/degrcomp/programs/v_engagement_training.php

Return to Top
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.

Interested in assessing your volunteer recruiting strategies?

Use a self-directed evaluation tool

Get help with one of the Volunteer Program Evaluation Series.

Return to Top

A Service of MBA Publishing-A subsidiary of Macduff/Bunt Associates All materials copyright protected ©2011
821 Lincoln St., Walla Walla, WA 99362 (509) 520-0244 FAX: (509) 526-5595 EMAIL: mba@bmi.net
Twitter: http://twitter.com/NLMacduff

The content of all linked sites are beyond the control Volunteer Today and the newsletter assumes no responsibility for their content.