Volunteer centers get asked all the time: is volunteer training really important?
The Short Answer:
The Detailed Answer:
Quality volunteer leadership includes ensuring that your volunteers are properly trained for their roles. Keep in mind, it is the agency’s responsibility to ensure that its volunteers are able to properly carry out their tasks. Volunteers who do not receive adequate training often report feeling frustrated and disengaged, and are less likely to continue volunteering. Poorly trained volunteers can also negatively impact an agency’s image.
Volunteer Training vs. Orientation
Volunteer training may include a formal orientation. Like a quick introductory course, the orientation’s purpose is to get new volunteers acquainted with the organization and its mission, and see how their role fits in.
The training segment usually follows the orientation. Think of it as the detailed prep course to get volunteers ready for their roles.
What Types of Training do Volunteers Need?
In general, volunteers require less formal training than paid employees; however, the amount of training required can vary depending on the level of responsibility. For one-time volunteers at an event, for example, training may be a simple how-to at the end of the orientation. For more long-term volunteers with added responsibilities, the training may be more in-depth, and could take a couple of formal sessions. Additional safety training may also be needed, especially for volunteers who deal with food preparation, medical care and animals.
Volunteer training may seem like a burdensome task, but don’t let quality training fall short of your priority list. Well trained volunteers, are happy, efficient volunteers who keep nonprofits running smoothly.