Volunteer Training

Modified on Mon, 07 Aug 2023 at 09:55 AM

Training volunteers is essential for any Volunteer Involving Organisation (VIO) to succeed. Volunteers power the work of their organisations, so training enables them to be more efficient and effective in everything they do. Skill requirements can vary depending on your organisation and the needs of volunteers. Many tasks can be performed without any form of training, such as attendance at or being a team member at a stall or handing out drinks at events. However for more complex or specific tasks, training may be required. This can be done in-house by staff/existing volunteers that are willing to share their time and expertise or it can be an accredited training, for example, a First Aid Course. Always assess what you are going to need of your volunteers so you can prepare training accordingly.

Why is volunteer training important?

Providing training for your volunteers is important for several reasons:

  • It provides an understanding of minimum standard of work and other expectations.
  • It can provide new skills that they can take with them long after they stop volunteering.
  • It allows volunteers to meet the people they will be working with.
  • It helps to identify potential volunteers that may not be suitable for the role .

Creating your volunteer training program

When developing your training program it is important to consider the following:

  • Cost: What materials will you require? Do you have a space available or will you need to rent one? Are refreshments provided?
  • Content: What are you trying to teach your potential volunteers?
  • Who: Who is teaching the training? Are you using a third-party instructor or in-house staff?
  • Delivery: How are you delivering, online or in person?

Training should include:

  • What tasks are expected and how to perform them safely.
  • How to behave in the event of an emergency or an incident.
  • How to use any equipment that is required for the role.
  • Coaching of the tasks to ensure they are done appropriately.
  • A review of relevant policies and procedures.

Delivering your training

When delivering training it is important to consider your participants. Some participants may not have prior experience or knowledge with online training. This is something you will need to adjust for, especially if the role you are training them for has frequent computer usage. 

It is also important to consider the ways your volunteers learn best, while there is no one right way to do training, certain training methods are better for some people then for others. Training should be as hands on and interactive as possible to give to help provide the most retention for volunteers.

After training

After training has been completed by volunteers, it is important to provide opportunities where they can put their training to use. This can be done with a mentoring system where the volunteer performs their allocated tasks with a more experienced person supervising and providing coaching. If the training does not include practical tasks, provide options for reflection and ask how they will adapt their training into their day to day.

Volunteer Training and Development - Quick Guide

This downloadable resources has been developed under the National Volunteer Management Activity project. 

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