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: email@example.com.
The trainer introduces a real problem to learners.
Participants discuss the problem statement and list its significant parts.
The group may not know enough to solve the problem but that is the challenge! This training technique is designed to have learners gather information and learn new concepts, principles, or skills as they engage in the problem-solving process.
Example: The manager of volunteers is training 10 new volunteers. He has organized the learners into 3 groups. The problem for all of the groups is that a hospital volunteer has a problem where a family member asks them to do something for a patient. The request seems either illegal or inappropriate and the volunteer is not sure what to do. It is clearly a grey area. The group has to sort out the issues and perhaps learn on their own what resources are available to answer this question. The trainer is a facilitator not a “teller” of information. (In a real exercise of this type the actual problem would be spelled out. For complicated problems, group members are assigned roles and given “background” information other group members do not see. In this scenario one person might be the volunteer, one the family member, one the patient)
2. List "What do we know?"
What do you know to solve the problem?
This includes both what you actually know and what skills and resources each member of the group brings to help solve the problem.
It is important to consider or note everyone's input, no matter how strange it may appear: it could hold a possibility!
Example: The situation of the hospital volunteer might require identifying the issues of the situation from the point of view of the hospital, the patient, the family member, and the volunteers. It might require getting resources not immediately apparent. Who in the group has what skills to make this happen. That is a key component of this step, know what you need in the way of information and how you can access it.
3. Develop, and write out, the problem statement
A problem statement should come from the group's analysis of what is known, and what is needed to know to solve it. Be sure to have:
a written statement
the agreement of the group on the statement
feedback on this statement from your instructor. (This may be optional, but is a good idea)
Note: The problem statement is often revisited and edited as new information is discovered, or "old" information is discarded.
4. List out possible solutions
List them all, then order them from strongest to weakest
Choose the best one, or the one most likely to succeed
Example: The hospital volunteer in question might have several options. It starts with just saying no and runs to the other end of the continuum with fulfilling the request. There are many options in between. And the solution may hinge on what time of day it is, location, etc.
5. List actions to be taken, with a timeline
What do we need to know and do to solve the problem?
What criteria will we use to rank the possible solutions?
How does this relate to our list of solutions?
Is there agreement? This is critical. An expert in the group may be the lone voice for one solution, but it could be correct. This negotiating is part of the learning process.
6. What additional information is needed other than that from group members?
Research the knowledge and data that will support your solution
Information is needed to fill in missing gaps.
Discuss possible resources
Experts, books, web sites, etc.
Assign and schedule research tasks, especially deadlines
Example: The volunteer trainees need to explore where the answer to this question lies. Is there a policy manual for volunteers, for patients, for family members? Do different departments do things differently? Where might they find them. In this case the information is needed immediately and the group has to determine where to find it. In traditional “teaching” the trainer tells the learners about the resources. In PBL the learners must use their previous life experience to identify the resources needed and then set about locating them.
If your research supports your solution, and if there is general agreement, go to (7). If not, go to (4)
7. Write up the solution with its supporting documentation, and submit it.
Present findings and/or recommendations to the trainer or other groups in the workshop.
The presentation includes the problem statement, questions, data gathered, analysis of data, and support for solutions or recommendations based on the data analysis: in short, the process and outcome.
The goal is to present and defend conclusions, not only the conclusions, but also the foundation upon which they rest. Presentations:
State clearly both the problem and conclusion
Summarize the process used, options considered, and difficulties encountered
Aim to convince, not overpower
Help others learn, as the group has learned
Sharing findings with the trainer and other volunteers is an opportunity in demonstrating what has been learned. Good for the trainer—a formative evaluation technique—and good for other learners tackling the same problem.
8. Debrief the exercise
A debriefing exercise is conducted for both to individuals and the group.
Groups should have time to discuss their problem solving process and what was done well and what improvements could have been made.
Individuals need the opportunity to assess their skill in being a member of the group and the contributions he/she made. A checklist would work well here.
9. Celebrate the outcome.
Learners should be rewarded for participating in a problem based learning exercise.
Ideas, theories, information, and training for those who manage the work of volunteers
Volunteer Management Training in Eastern Washington
Recruiting and Managing Volunteers
Professional Development Certificate
Walla Walla Community College, in Walla Walla, WA is offering a two-session professional development certificate in the management of volunteers. It is designed for those who organize volunteers, paid and unpaid. The course is April 15 and 16, 2009. Participation in all the sessions leads to a professional development certificate. Classes can be taken separately. For more information contact Nancy Kress at 509-527-4561 or firstname.lastname@example.org at the college.
Course description: Engaging and managing volunteers in the 21st century is not quite as simple as it used to be. Effective volunteer programs must use a coordinated effort to identify volunteers interested in offering their time and talents to an organization or a program. The Recruiting and Managing Volunteers class offers a two day examination of the elements of recruiting and managing volunteers: Elements of effective recruiting, strategies to plan training for a diverse a audience, techniques to effectively manage short and long term volunteers, methods to evaluate volunteers, and tips on meaningful recognition. In an interactive classroom setting students learn from an internationally recognized teacher with ample opportunity to interact with colleagues.
Class One- Recruitment and Training of Volunteers
Class Two- Management and Recognition of Volunteers
Instructor: Nancy Macduff, M.A.C.E
Faculty, Institute for Nonprofit Management
Portland State University
Author and Lecturer-Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program
Portland State University Launches Training for Managers of Volunteer Programs
Institute for Nonprofit Management Launches Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Courses
Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program
Courses offered in spring Quarter-late March
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. http://www.extended.pdx.edu/degrcomp/programs/v_engagement.php
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
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
in assessing your volunteer recruiting strategies?