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Effective volunteer training

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Good volunteer management includes ensuring volunteers are trained to fulfill their roles effectively.

What is volunteer training?

Training means different things to different people and there are many ways that people learn. Volunteers may need less formal training than paid staff as they may be doing very specific roles for limited periods. However, it is important that they are given opportunities to get feedback on how they are doing in the role.

Without being too formal, supervision and support sessions can provide these opportunities. Volunteers can think about their work and how they contribute to the organisation's objectives. Volunteers like to know about any changes coming that are likely to impact on them! 

The right types of volunteer training

If you are responsible for supporting volunteers you will need to think about the amount of time volunteers have available, their own preferred way of learning and what resources you have available: for example, capacity, time, location, materials, budget for external courses.

Effective volunteers

It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure that volunteers are able to carry out the role they have been recruited to do, whatever that may be. The steps from recruitment to volunteers contributing effectively can be summarised as:

Other questions you might have are around how much training should a volunteer have (what is too much/too little?) and should you give accreditation to volunteer's learning. 

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Foster Murphy and Barbara Regnier

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