The training process takes time, effort and requires an input of resources. So why do it? Experts have advised that if you don't train volunteers then the voluntary organisation will inevitably suffer in the longterm.
The value of training is to:
- Help to minimise risk (for example, health and safety training)
- Demonstrate that the organisation believes in a high standard of work
- Lessen the likelihood of mistakes and other problems
- Act as a screening tool as a part of their volunteer selection procedure
- Allow new volunteers to learn about the organisation and their specific tasks
- Allow existing volunteers to perform their roles better and to take on new work as the organisation changes
- Give volunteers an opportunity to learn about the political, social and economic setting in which the organisation operates
- Heighten personal skills and awareness, so the volunteers can function more effectively as individuals and therefore do their voluntary work more successfully
- Improve interpersonal and group awareness, so volunteers can both work more effectively with colleagues and deal more sensitively with the organisation's client group
- Provide standardised training can ensure consistency in approach by different volunteers and continuity over time
Some volunteers value the provision of training enormously, regarding it as an essential part and tangible benefit of their volunteering experience. In these cases, training will undoubtedly increase volunteer confidence and satisfaction. However, others may not see the need for training, or even if they do, they may find the idea very off-putting (possibly because it reminds them of unhappy school days). If this is the case, the need for training must be 'sold' with great sensitivity. In all instances, training must be well-planned and appropriate to the needs of organisation and to the needs of the individual volunteer.
Types of volunteer training
- Induction training
- Further training
Induction is an information sharing process to help volunteers feel part of the team and become productive as quickly as possible within their role. Planning and creating an induction programme and induction pack ensures all volunteers receive all relevant information and are introduced to the organisation in the same way. It may take some effort to collate the information initially on a checklist but once it's done, it can be updated and added to easily.