Why Volunteer Training Programs Are Important

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If you’re an organization that relies on volunteers, you probably already know that engaged volunteers who share your dedication to the cause have the biggest impact. You may not know that comprehensive volunteer training programs can increase engagement and promote volunteer retention rates so you always have the people you need. Furthermore, effective training helps volunteers feel more comfortable in their roles and appreciate what your organization does. It may cost a little bit of time and money to train your volunteers, but your organization will come out ahead in the long run. 

One of the biggest challenges associated with volunteer training programs is learner buy-in. Volunteers don’t have to come to help you out at all, so they have to want your training to bother with it. The experts at Turning have developed a learning engagement platform called Dojo360 to make it easier to reach learners where they are. It’s based on our e³ philosophy of equity, evidence, and engagement, and we believe that it’s the best way to deliver volunteer training courses to your organization’s learners. Keep reading to find out why. 

What Do Effective Volunteer Training Programs Need?

While a lot of organizations get stuck on the “volunteer” part of volunteer training programs, the actual process is similar to employee training. You have to teach volunteers what they need to know in the context of how they’ll apply it while working on behalf of your organization. Here are five things that you’ll want to include in your program:

  1. Flexibility

    You aren’t paying your volunteers, so you can’t force them to do anything. As such, it’s imperative that training is as convenient as possible. For instance, content on Dojo360 is accessible at any time and on any device, giving learners complete control over when and where they want to learn. You can also create self-paced assignments to give learners even more control over their training.

  2. Opportunities for Collaboration

    You want your organization’s volunteers to feel like a big family, and the only way that can happen is if you bring them together. For example, you could have live virtual classes on Dojo360 to brainstorm ideas for your next project or use our platform’s virtual meeting rooms to set recruits up with more experienced volunteer mentors. Anything that builds interpersonal relationships between volunteers is a win.

  3. Simulations

    Throwing fresh volunteers to the wolves won’t work well, but some people learn best by experience. Dojo360 allows instructors to create virtual simulations that mirror what your organization does without any real-world consequences. Placing training into context this way promotes engagement and ensures that your volunteers will be prepared if something goes awry in the field.

  4. Real-Time Analytical Tools

    Not knowing how well your volunteers understand their training until it’s too late is a common problem, but Dojo360 gives everyone the evidence they need to avoid this scenario. Inline quizzes and other assessments let learners know if they don’t understand something, ensuring that they’re aware of any knowledge gaps. You will also be notified of these areas of opportunity and can assign tasks accordingly.

  5. Equity for All Learners

    You need all of your volunteers to receive the same training so that your organization’s mission is consistent across projects and locations. Dojo360 allows in-person, remote, and asynchronous learners to use the same course materials so that nothing falls through the cracks. Likewise, our platform meets or exceeds all WCAG 2.0 standards to ensure that all learners have equal access to training materials. 

What Information Should Volunteer Training Programs Include?

Your volunteer training courses should cover whatever your volunteers need to succeed in your organization, whether that’s serving sizes at a food bank distributing turkey dinners during the holidays or acceptable donations. Knowing these things beforehand can help volunteers feel more confident and become more likely to volunteer again in the future. You can also set up personalized learning paths on Dojo360 to help your volunteers grow into larger roles. 

If you have any content that you’d like to bring to Dojo360, our platform seamlessly integrates with most LMS and LXP software. Likewise, PowerPoint presentations can be converted into editable volunteer training courses in no time flat. Please explore Dojo360 in further detail to learn more about what it could do for your organization!

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