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Training Volunteers 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.

~ May 2010 ~

APPLYING ADULT LEARNING PRINCPLES

The teacher of adults has a different job from the one who teaches children. If you're teaching adult students, it's important to understand the five principles of teaching adults. It's important to know how adults learn.

Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in the study of adult learning, observed that adults learn best when:

   1. They understand why something is important to know or do.
   2. They have the freedom to learn in their own way.
   3. Learning is experiential.
   4. The time is right for them to learn.
   5. The process is positive and encouraging.

Principle 1: Make Sure Your Adult Students Understand “Why”

Volunteers are willing learners.  He/she is in a training session to learn how to carry out a specific voluntary task.  You still need to be clear why the topics covered in the training are important to the volunteer, not just the organization.

This principle is not about why volunteers are in training, but about why each thing you teach them is an important part of the learning.

Volunteers are often required to adhere to the same levels of confidentiality as paid staff.  So why is that important to the volunteer?

  • Clients/members have an expectation of confidentiality whether dealing with volunteers or paid staff
  • Imagine how you would feel if someone revealed confidential information about you
  • To be an effective volunteer there is an expectation that you can keep secret

Principle 2: Respect that Your Students Have Different Learning Styles

There are three general learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

Visual learners rely on visual images to acquire information. They love graphs, diagrams, and illustrations. “Show me,” is their motto. They often sit in the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions and to watch you, the trainer. They want to know what the subject looks like. You can best communicate with them by providing handouts, writing on the white board or easel paper, and using phrases like, “Do you see how this works?”

Auditory learners listen carefully to all sounds associated with the learning. “Tell me,” is their motto. They will pay close attention to the sound of your voice and all of its subtle messages, and they will actively participate in discussions. You can best communicate with them by speaking clearly, asking questions, and using phrases like, “How does that sound to you?”

Kinesthetic learners need to physically do something to understand it. Their motto is “Let me do it.” They trust their feelings and emotions about what they’re learning and how you’re teaching it. They want to actually touch what they’re learning. They are the ones who will get up and help you. You can best communicate with them by involving the learners, allowing them to practice what they’re learning, and using phrases like, “How do you feel about that?”

Most people use all three styles while they’re learning, and of course, this is logical since we all have five senses, barring any disabilities, but one style almost always is preferred.

How can you incorporate the different learning styles in a training on confidentiality?

  • Begin with an exercise where students discuss a definition of confidentiality.  The results of discussion are written on easel paper (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
  • Students compare their responses to the organizational definition and examples of confidentiality—use handout and PowerPoint.  (Visual and auditory)
  • Problem solving groups are given sample scenarios (on handout) of actual confidentiality situations.  The tasks for the discussion groups is to determine if the volunteer behaved appropriately as related to confidentiality.  (auditory and visual)
  • Each group has opportunity to present the result of the discussion.  (auditory, visual, kinesthetic)

In this part of the workshop you provide different experiences for different types of learners.

Principle 3: Allow Your Students to Experience What They’re Learning

Experience can take many forms. Any activity that gets your students involved makes the learning experiential. This includes small group discussions, experiments, role-playing, skits, building something at their table or desk, writing or drawing something specific – activity of any kind. Activities also keep people energized, especially activities that involve getting up and moving about.

The other aspect of this principle is honoring the life experiences your students bring to the classroom. Be sure to tap into that wealth of wisdom whenever it’s appropriate. To keep learners on task and solving problems in a timely way, set a time limit, use a worksheet, and assign a timekeeper.

The learning activities described above provide the volunteers opportunities to talk about their own experiences, share perceptions of the rules of confidentiality, and learn the expectations of the organization. 


 

VOLUNTEERISM

WORKSHOP IN TACOMA, WA AND CONFERENCE IN HONOLULU, HAWAII

Tacoma, WA

Thursday, May, 6, 2010

For more information: Visit our Events page


Honolulu, Hawaii

Sponsored by the Hawaii Association of Managers of Volunteers

September 17 and 18, 2010

Volunteer Management for a New Decade

For more information: Visit our Events page

 


Professional Development

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


RECOGNITION OF VOLUNTEERS

AND

EVALUATION AND RECOGNITION OF VOLUNTEERS

ONLINE TRAINING FOR MANAGERS OF VOLUNTEERS

Portland State University
Department of Extended Studies

  • EIGHT WEEK CLASSES BEGIN JUNE 21

 

Want to improve and organize your recruiting efforts?

Interested in evaluating the volunteers and the work they do?

Interested in novel methods of recognition?

Beginning in June the Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program offers two online course, Recruiting Volunteers and Evaluation and Recognition, in conjunction with the School of Public Administration’s Institute for Nonprofit Studies and the Department of Extended Studies.  The classes are part of a series that leads to certification in Volunteer Administration and can be taken pass/fail or for college credit.

Recruitment of Volunteers engages students in a marketing approach to the recruitment of volunteers.  Interactive activities involve students in practical discussions of the different styles of volunteering—traditional and episodic; building a recruiting plan, advertising and promotion for volunteers, and the organization of a volunteer recruiting team.

Evaluation and Recognition of Volunteers addresses formal and informal means of evaluating volunteer performance and how to evaluate the overall volunteer program.  The connection between motivation and recognition is explored in ways to thank volunteers for their service.

Assignments are interactive and designed to build skills directly applicable to a manager of volunteers program.  Some assignments can be used immediately in existing volunteer programs. 

 

For more information on the program visit: http://distancedegree.pdx.edu//programs/v_engagement.php


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Portland State University Training for Managers of Volunteer Programs

Institute for Nonprofit Management

Department of Extended Studies

Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program

 

Portland State University’s Volunteer Engagement and Leadership certificate program offers classes all semesters throughout the year. Recruiting volunteers is the first class in a series of six courses and covers the organization of the recruitment effort. It includes the impact of societal changes on volunteering, practical strategies for organizing recruiting include conducting needs assessments, strategic planning, and position descriptions. There is also information on the basics of marketing in the volunteer arena, advertising and promotions, screening and the utilization of volunteer recruiting teams.

The second class in the series is training volunteers. It moves the student from understanding the concepts of how adults learn to organizing content, writing learning objectives, and writing a training plan. Both classes will be offered during winter semester, beginning in January 2010.

Class is fully online

x For registration assistance phone (503)725-4822 or Toll Free: (800) 547-8887 ask for ext. 4822

x Online contact: http://www.extended.pdx.edu/degrcomp/programs/v_engagement.php

GENERAL INFORMATION

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


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JOURNAL FOR PRACTITIONERS

The International Journal of Volunteer Administration is a practitioner journal grounded in solid scholarship in the field of volunteerism, but with practical advice for those who manage volunteers.

The Journal is a refereed publication of the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, USA. The IJOVA seeks to provide an exchange of ideas and a sharing of knowledge and insights about volunteerism and volunteer management and administration, both in North America and internationally.

Formerly published by the now-dissolved Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA), The Journal is a not-for-profit service of the Department and North Carolina State University that seeks to connect practitioners, academicians, and consultants in greater service to the global volunteer community and the professionals who lead it.

The IJOVA is governed by a six-member Editorial Board representing the three predominant genres of volunteer management professionals: (a) practicing managers of volunteers, (b) consultants, and (c) academicians focusing upon volunteer management and administration. Three Board members represent the United States while one member each represents Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

Subscriptions are a modest $40. for the electronic journal. For more information and to read six issues for free go to the IJOVA Web site.


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AL!VE SEEKS MEMBERS


The Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE) is a national organization that supports and advocates for professionals in the field of volunteer management.  Membership is diverse cross section of professionals who are managers, directors, trainers, and consultants committed to the engagement of volunteers.

You can learn more about AL!VE at their Web site.  http://www.volunteeralive.org There is information on the board of directors, resources, newsletter, and committees.  It is now possible to join the organization online as it moves forward in its development. 


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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.


COLLEGE PROGRAMS ON NONPROFIT AND VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT

Close to 300 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.


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