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Top 5 tips to creating an effective volunteer training program - Rosterfy

Whether you’re a nonprofit, charity or a major event, ensuring that you have a dedicated volunteer training program is an essential part of any successful volunteer management program.

Don’t know what a volunteer training program is? We’ve got you covered! Rosterfy have put together our top 5 tips for putting together an effective volunteer training program.

Training Tip #1: Develop your program

First things first, it’s time to define your program. To get the most out of your volunteers, you need to understand and define what it is that you want to get out of your volunteer management programs. Questions to consider include:

  • Why do we need to utilize volunteers?
  • How will they contribute to the broader workings of our organization to help us achieve our mission/goal?
  • Who will be responsible for recruitment, training and management of volunteers?
  • How will we recruit our volunteers? 
  • Should we utilize a volunteer management solution?
  • Are there any screening measures for volunteers? Do they need certain skills/certifications?
  • Do we have a budget for managing our volunteers?
  • What content needs to be developed for volunteers (i.e a volunteer training manual)

Once you have a clear understanding of what you want your volunteer management program to look like and the types of volunteers you want to attract, it’s time to get started!

Training Tip #2: Screen your volunteers

As part of your induction process it is important to have in place a screening process. Screening your volunteers benefits not only your nonprofit, event and/or cause but it also ensures the safety of your volunteers and the broader community. 

Certain events or organizations may require extensive screening measures including background and police checks to ensure that selected volunteers are the right candidate for the role? Similarly if you are a nonprofit where volunteers work with children you may require all volunteers to hold a valid working with children’s check. 

The best way to facilitate screening is through a volunteer management solution, which will help you to automate processes and remove the need for manual scheduling. 

Training Tip #3: Get your training environment right

Whether you’re planning on conducting your training in person or digitally, making sure that you have considered how you will present your environment is really important to make a good first impression. 

If you’re planning on conducting your training within your office or at an event IN PERSON, consider the following:

  • Where will you host the training? Inside or outside? If outside, do you have adequate shelter and a wet weather contingency?
  • Will you provide food and drink? Something as small as tea and coffee goes a long way in making volunteers feel valued and welcomed. 
  • Who will be facilitating the training?
  • Do you have collateral that supports the training (i.e powerpoint)? Remember that for many of your volunteers this will be their first impression of you and your brand so this needs to be done professionally. 
  • How will you facilitate the training?
  • What happens if a volunteer can’t access the training? Will recordings be made available?

If you’re planning on conducting your training REMOTELY, consider the following:

  • What technology will you use to facilitate the training?
  • Who will be facilitating the training?
  • Do you have collateral that supports the training (i.e powerpoint)? How will this be presented remotely?
  • What happens if a volunteer can’t access the training? Will recordings be made available?

Tip #4 - Support your volunteers

Ensure that throughout your training, you remain available to support your volunteers to ensure that they feel comfortable and confident to successfully complete their training.

Providing feedback and working with your volunteers to help them complete their training goes a long way in ensuring that your volunteers have a great experience from start to finish. It also ensures that you and your organization get the most out of your volunteers. A win win for everyone!

Tip #5 - Celebrate their achievements

Make sure to spend the time, congratulating and celebrating your volunteers once certain milestones are achieved. Something as little as a congratulatory email goes a long way in making volunteers feel valued and appreciated. 

Consider developing a certificate or badge for completing training, which volunteers can proudly display on their volunteer portal. This process can be automated if you’re using a volunteer management solution.