This post is part of a series on 7 Keys to an Effective Volunteer Training System.
When our local children’s ministry network gathers, we almost always talk about how we train volunteers and what that looks like specifically for each of us. Everyone is interested in how they can have the best participation possible at their training events, and they know many factors are involved. On our end, we also want to make sure we can give the time and energy necessary to make those training opportunities worthwhile.
Here are some tips for creating a sustainable and predictable rhythm for volunteer trainings.
Determine how often training is needed
Our children’s ministry has 2 huge training events each year, while our student ministry gathers every other month. Each ministry has different needs based on a number of factors including team size, team experience, future plans, history in a specific strategy, etc.
Ask: How often do we need to train volunteers?
Figure out a set length of time for each training
The frequency of training events and how long each training lasts should work together. The more frequent the training, the shorter they can be. You can certainly change up the length of a training, but everyone likes some predictability in their experience.
Ask: How much time do we need to cover the most important elements?
Settle on days and times that get the best turnout
There probably won’t be one perfect day and time to have the training, except Sunday during a service and that presents its own challenges. We have found 2-3 options that work really well, and we choose which one based on the existing calendar, the length, and the format we plan to use.
Ask: What days and times seem to work best for the most people?
Land on some helpful formats
What will the training include? Will you serve food? How much time will be spent vision casting versus time spent in specific teams? These are all helpful questions to answer as you decide on a format that works best.
Ask: What formats provide the most help to every volunteer?
Assess how often you can pull of training events
It’s a must for us to train our volunteers throughout the year, but it’s also important to determine how often we can do that based on all the other demands on our time.
Ask: How many times a year can I lead a high-quality training event?
We have tried to make our volunteer training events regular and rhythmic, as well as predictable enough for people to feel comfortable attending. We also branded our training events with specific names (Equip and Elevate), just so volunteers know exactly what to expect when they see that name come up.