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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: mba@bmi.net

~March 2014 ~



Managing a volunteer program requires professional skills.  People who manage volunteers are professionals, with standards for performance, academic research on the field of work, and a body of research and practice literature.  There are associations and publications to meet the needs of managers of volunteers.

Definitions of Professionalfour people looking professional

Professional:  (1) of or belonging to or connected with a professional; (2) having or showing the skill of a professional; competent; (3) engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation

Synonyms:  trained, practiced, veteran, experienced, qualified, licensed, official, seasoned, competent, able, skilled, expert, master, adept, efficient, authoritative, businesslike, specialist, proficient.

Professionalism: the qualities or typical features of a profession or of professionals.

What Professionals Have in Common

  • standards for performance
  • professional training
  • research in the field of endeavor
  • reports of research in journals
  • professional associations related to the field
  • a body of research and practice literature
  • academic courses to teach theory and practice


Are you a professional?


AL!VE---Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement This group plan activities to enhance and sustain the spirit of volunteering by fostering collaboration and networking, promoting professional development, and providing advocacy for leaders in community engagement. 

ARNOVA---Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.  An international membership organization dedicated to fostering through research an understanding of the nonprofit sector, philanthropy and volunteerism .

VELP---Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program at Portland State University (OR).     A series of four classes engages students in learning the various elements of leading a professional quality volunteer program in agencies and nonprofits.  It uses the most current scholarship with time for reflection, interaction with other students, and opportunities for practical application. Complete all four courses and you receive a certificate of professional development

CCAVA---Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration Sponsors the CVA (Certified in Volunteer Administration) credential, the international professional certification in the field of volunteer resources management. Originally developed by the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA) several decades ago, the program is intended for individuals who lead and direct volunteer engagement in all types of organizations and settings.    

IJOVA--- International Journal of Volunteer Administration. Seeks to provide an exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge and insights about volunteerism,  and volunteer management and administration, both in North America and internationally

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Get a tip on some aspect of volunteer administration daily on Twitter.

You do not need a twitter account. Just visit the site on the Web. Paste this address into your browser and you can pick up new ideas. Book mark the page for ease of revisiting.




Professional Development

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


Portland State University

College of Urban and Public Affairs

Hatfield School

Public Administration.

Earn a Professional Development Certificate

Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program (VELP)

Online Classes

March 31 , 2014

  • Recruiting Volunteers
  • Evaluation and Recognition in Volunteer Programs

More details on classes. Click here

Sign up for an email list if you wish to be notified about new classes.

Send inquiries to: mba@bmi.net


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Interested in quick tips on recruiting, coaching, communication, record keeping for your volunteer program.  Follow Volunteer Today publisher and editor, Nancy Macduff on Twitter.  She is posting quick ideas each workday on Twitter about the administration of volunteers.  Check out this new quick resource on Twitter at NLMacduff.  It is the VERY abbreviated form of Volunteer Today.

Nancy is seeking tips, hints, ideas, comments on things related to the management and administration of volunteers.  You can leave a Tweet on the Twitter site or email Nancy at mba@bmi.net.  The tip cannot be longer than 140 spaces or characters. 

REMEMBER: Followers on Twitter can set their profile on privacy to avoid getting unwanted Tweets.  Also, you must pick up Tweets, they do not pop up like your email.  Make it a bookmark on your computer.  Yes, you can Twitter from your computer,  you do not need a smart phone!

If you have not used this social media form of communication and would like to learn how to use it for future communication with volunteers, this is a good way to practice.  Tell the people in your organization and your colleagues in the community about this new site, exclusively for those who coordinate the work of volunteers.

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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.

The Journal is a not-for-profit service of 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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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.

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