Volunteers are an integral part of many nonprofit organizations. They help in a variety of ways to complete work for which an organization lacks full-time staff. Volunteers are typically one of the biggest sources of support a nonprofit organization uses to remain sustainable.

There are many different facets in which a volunteer can support an organization, but each task given to a volunteer should be met with some form of training. Training will enable the volunteers to better understand and work more efficiently for the organization.

There are three types of training one can offer to a volunteer: Basic Nonprofit Education, Organization-Specific Training, and Job-Specific Training.

Basic Nonprofit Education focuses on the introduction to a typical nonprofit organization for those who may not be familiar. This can include:

  • The definition of nonprofit organizations and their purposes
  • The manner in which nonprofits are operated and organized
  • The role of fundraising
  • The work related to fundraising activities
  • Ethical considerations for nonprofit work

Organization-Specific Training involves educating a volunteer on the specific organization. This may include:

  • The organization’s mission, vision, or long-term goals
  • Information related to the history of the organization
  • Key partners of the organization
  • The organization’s business model
  • The organization’s hierarchy and leadership
  • Jobs in the organizations and related responsibilities

Job-Specific Training, on the other hand, involves the volunteer’s desired job. Some tips for job specific training include:

  • Assign volunteers to one general area where they will become most productive, such as the admin area, the advocacy or marketing, or other areas of volunteer interest. Once one has finished separating the volunteers by area, one can train them specifically to their volunteer area.
  • Train volunteers on basic protocols such as kitchen safety and hygiene protocols, phone operations, and other protocols that may be specific to the organization and its culture.
  • Let volunteers shadow someone who is experienced and can teach them.
  • Motivate volunteers by offering feedback, providing a helping hand if needed, and showing them the greater purpose the organization in the community.

It is important to provide some sort of training to all volunteers to enable them to contribute effectively to your organization and its mission.

Please contact the Not-for-Profit Niche team at Gilliam Bell Moser LLP for further guidance.