Training Busy Staff to Succeed with Volunteers
The 55-Minute Training Series – Designing a Staff Training Program
Establish a task force or utilize your volunteer advisory council to assist you in the development of the assessment tool and the method of sharing results. Representation from line staff, administration, volunteers, and board would be optimal. Without this involvement, buy-in to the results is apt to be very disappointing. 3.
Determine who should participate in the assessment and what methods of information retrieval would be most effective (an anonymous questionnaire, a small focus group discussion, etc.). After selecting the most appropriate method(s), formulate questions which will elicit the information you need to help design your volunteer training program (see suggested sample questionnaires in this chapter). If possible, have the questionnaire field-tested by a few staff; this way, you are certain that the questions can be answered with ease and that they elicit the information you desire. 4.
Administer the assessment and tally results. Look for repeated concerns, themes, volunteer management topics of greatest interest to staff, signs of resistance, or lack of commitment to the volunteer program. 5.
Have the task force analyze the findings and make suggestions for addressing the issues and concerns that surfaced. Note particularly those that can be addressed through training. Concerns and issues for which training is not the answer should be separately noted for the task force to analyze. 6.
Present the findings and resulting recommendations to the executive director, board, or any administrator who needs to approve the plan for addressing the issues. 7.
Present a summary of the findings and recommendations to the appropriate staff and volunteers. 8.
With input from your task force or others who can effectively contribute to this process, design an in-service workshop, retreat, educational or facilitated sessions to deal with commitment and competence issues that surfaced in the assessment. 9.
Implement your training program. Evaluate its impact through follow-up assessment with participants concerning improvements that resulted from the intervention. 10.
Because training is an ongoing process, each assessment of a training or facilitation becomes part of the foundation for future training plans.
Methods to Obtain Information in an Assessment
There are numerous methods to gather information in a volunteer program assessment, but most will fall within these five categories: 1.
Volunteer Program Assessment Guides 2.
Tailored Questionnaires and Surveys 3.
Focus Groups 4.
Observation and Materials Review 5.
Use of a Training Needs Assessment Tool
Volunteer Program Assessment
© 2007 Betty Stallings