VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

~ December 2001 ~
  • Help Plan Training for Volunteer Managers
  • Points of Light Conference in June
  • Ice Breakers
  • Assess Your Volunteer Orientation

Help Plan Training for Volunteer Managers

Washington State University's online Volunteer Management Certificate Program provides education and training in the critical skills essential for recruiting, managing, training, and evaluating volunteers. During three successful years of operation hundreds have registered to the courses in the program and ten have successfully completed all units to obtain their Certificate. WSU Volunteer Management program has won several national learning awards and praise for students. Current students and others are asking for in depth training on additional topics related to the management of volunteers. The faculty and staff need your help and input as they design new programs over the next year for a projected launch in the fall of 2002. You can complete the questionnaire on topics for the advanced courses by visiting the VMCP web site. We need your comments by December 7, 2001.

Points of Light Conference in June

The Points of Light National Conference on Community Volunteering and National Service has been set for June 9 ­ 12, 2001 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Early bird registration for non-profit and government agency representatives is $400. If you are interested in more information on this conference you can call 202-729-8101 or visit the Web site http://www.pointsoflight.org.

This is also an opportunity to submit a proposal to present a workshop or seminar. For more information go to http://www.pointsoflight.org/2001NC for details on conference design, presenter benefits, and criteria for selection. Be quick. The deadline for submission is December 7, 2001.

Ice Breakers

Getting a training session started on the right tone can be helped by an effective ice breaker activity. Here are two you might use.

Use this at the beginning of a session where people do not know each other well. Ask each person to introduce themselves and to include one thing about themselves they believe is unique in the room. Things like living in Sri Lanka for two years, owning six sets of skis, or competing in car road racing.

The second ice breaker is most appropriate for an existing group or one where people have been together for a few days. As participants enter the room hand them a card with the name of an animal, if you have time, pictures are fun, too. When the group is given a signal they make the sound or action of the animal and walk around until they find the person who has the same animal. This is a good technique to form partner groups, or shake up the seating patterns that on-going groups often fall into.

Assess Your Volunteer Orientation





1. Make the volunteer feel welcome through celebration at the orientation.        
2. Important people in the organization participate in the orientation        
3. Keep training time reasonable so volunteer can be on the job quickly.        
4. Make sure the entire paid staff and experienced volunteers know there are new folks about to start working.        
5. Call the volunteer before they come to orientation to welcome them to the orientation.        
6. Create an environment in orientation that confirms the volunteer has made the right choice in selecting to work with your organization.        
7. Have an orientation packet that includes such things as policies, maps, organizational chart, contact names, calendar of events, and organizational literature.        
8. If appropriate make sure the volunteer sees where they will be working.        


Close to 200 colleges and universities offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management. They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of these colleges. A full list resides at http://pirate.shu.edu/~mirabero. Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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