How do you train your volunteers?

Ashley Haschemeyer Volunteers

Your volunteers probably have lots of options of how to utilize their time, so if they’re going to dedicate that time to you, it’s your duty to make sure it’s worth their while. Training your volunteers shows them that you trust them and that their contributions are valuable and necessary to your organization. You will also find that volunteers appreciate being trained, because they do have a heart to serve, and with training, they are able to serve to the best of their ability.

One thing to keep in mind when training your volunteers, is to be thorough and organized.

Often times, we will tend to train volunteers “on-the-fly” on the tasks they need to complete at that time. By organizing and scheduling periodic volunteer training sessions, it not only gives you the opportunity to train many volunteers at once, but is also a great opportunity to recruit new volunteers. At this training session, a new volunteer can come to one session and be exposed to many opportunities while being able to choose what they’d like to do, as opposed to maybe just being asked to do a specific task that is needed at the time.

Along those lines, fitting your volunteers into the right roles is so vital.

Making sure that you are maximizing your volunteers’ strengths by matching their skills to their role in your organization should be a focus of your volunteer training. One way to do this, is to spend half of your time together giving a basic overview of the volunteer opportunities and responsibilities of those roles, then break up into stations to allow volunteers to choose specific roles to take a deeper dive into. Giving volunteers the opportunity to learn at least two, if not three different roles in your organization will help them to be more effective and versatile. One way to help volunteers pick the right roles for them would be to make a list of the roles you have available and then list the attributes of the type of person you believe would be suited for that role. This exercise will help you to identify the right person for the task as well as allow your volunteers to choose a role that might suit them even if it’s not what they are specifically trained in. Example: Someone who works in an accounting firm would be a great help with your finance operations, but they may also be a terrific decorator, so allowing them to utilize their creative side as well makes happy and productive volunteers.

In the end, it’s all about creating a great experience for your volunteers.

Out of all of the thousands of opportunities they have to volunteer for things, they’ve chosen you. Remembering that, make them feel empowered, important and valued, and you’ll reap the rewards of a truly happy and dedicated volunteer army.

How do you train your volunteers?