Why is it essential for volunteers to be provided with appropriate orientation and training? In order to be effective in their roles, new volunteers or volunteers who are taking on new responsibilities must receive adequate orientation and training. Orientation familiarizes volunteers with your organization’s policies and procedures and will help them to act in alignment with your organization’s values and practices.1 In this respect, orientation is an important component of volunteer screening, especially when volunteers are new to their positions.2 Training helps ensure that volunteers are able to perform their roles effectively and minimizes potential risks posed to themselves and others.1
How can my organization effectively train its volunteers? Linda Graff suggests that in developing training opportunities for volunteers, nonprofit and charitable organizations:3
- Consider the learning needs of their volunteers, keeping in mind current knowledge levels about the topic as well as learning styles and levels of engagement
- Involve the volunteers themselves in the development of training opportunities to ensure that the training meets their needs
- Create clear and attainable learning objectives so that everyone is clear on the purpose of the training and has realistic expectations for learning
- Incorporate opportunities to apply the learning, recognizing that adult learning is facilitated by applying new concepts
From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement," Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.
- “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
- “Best Practice Guidelines for Screening Volunteers,” Public Safety Canada, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2008; “Safe Steps: A Volunteer Screening Process,” Volunteer Canada, 2001.
- “Designing and Structuring Volunteer Training,” Linda Graff, November 2009.
Standards Reference Guide