Recently, I was teaching a workshop where the main issue for the group was volunteer retention and the common response to every tool that I suggested was ” how am I going to get my staff to do this”? So my question to the participants was, ” why are they not as vested in volunteers?”. Response, “they should be but how do we do this?”.
Here is the top 10 reasons to provide volunteer management training not just for those who manage the volunteer program but for those who support volunteers:
- It is a team effort to retain and support volunteers
- Volunteer Management is an expertise that requires tools and resources and education to build successful volunteer programs
- Volunteers should expect staff to know how to train, support and evaluate their experiences (if we train management to supervise staff, should we not train staff to work with volunteers?)
- Volunteers are embedded in all facets of the organization and connected in so many ways
- Best practices in volunteer management will minimize risk to clients, volunteers and stakeholders
- Volunteers are your best form of marketing, so good volunteer management best practice education will result in positive experiences and invaluable word of mouth
- Through volunteer management training, creativity and new ideas are born
- Training strengthens cross-program collaboration and support
- It is the responsibility of the management team, that all staff (and leadership volunteers) have the up to date tools and resources to work with volunteers
- Volunteerism should be a pillar of success for your organization and through training you are encouraging the conversations about the importance of volunteerism
As a faculty member at Humber College Volunteer Management Leadership Certificate, I believe that formal training is the foundation to working with volunteers but as a workshop trainer, I also feel that short, specific topic best practices are a great way to introduce and reinforce volunteer management best practices.
As a life long learner myself, nonprofit budgets should include volunteer management training for all of their staff, but especially those responsible for the many volunteers that they support. Volunteer management programs should stay current and encourage creativity as the environment of volunteerism is changing fast.
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