7 Keys to an Effective Volunteer Training System

volunteerI recently had a good conversation with another family ministry leader who was looking to improve his volunteer training system. One of the biggest challenges ministry leaders face is in training and equipping volunteers on their teams, and we got to share ideas and learn from each other.

In many cases, training and coaching is not a core strength or skill for the leader. In all cases, Sunday is always coming and the pressure of being ready for the weekend, along with everything else (meetings, events, care, etc.), pushes out time for investing in volunteers.

At CCC we have utilized a number of different strategies for volunteer training and we’ve settled in on a pretty consistent system. We continue to improve that system, and I’ve found these 7 Keys to be helpful in creating and maintaining an effective volunteer training plan. I’ll unpack each one in a separate blog post, but here they are.

Strong Onboarding

The first step in having an effective training system for volunteers is doing the best job we can when they begin serving. This includes orientations, learning the environment they’ll serve in, the role they’ll play, and being partnered with someone who can coach them early on.

Sustainable Rhythm

Once volunteers are in place, it’s important to have a rhythm for volunteer trainings. That rhythm will differ depending on your specific context, but the key is figuring out the best rhythm and making sure it’s sustainable.

Helpful Content

Good volunteers are always hungry for content that will help them have a greater impact in their role. They are not, however, open to giving up their time for something that seems like a waste. Helpful content is required to develop volunteers and make them want to attend training events.

Personal Invites

It’s really easy to mass-invite volunteers to a training event, and we should do that. But, we also have to include personal invites somewhere in the process if we want everyone to show up.

Follow Up Accountability

Follow up after a training is essential for people who attended and those who missed. There are 3 different types of follow ups needed after a training, and all 3 are necessary if you want the best engagement possible.

Easy to Attend

Training events need to be as easy to attend as possible. You can’t appease everyone, but you can do a number of things to take away excuses people have for not attending training events.

Can’t Miss Culture

The best way to have strong participation in volunteer trainings is to make the events themselves have a “can’t miss” feel to them. What can you do to make those who attend feel glad they did and want to come next time?

I’ll dig down into each one of these in this series of posts, and I’d love to hear from you as I do.

What keys have you learned?

What challenges have you faced?