04 May 2021 | 3 min read


This is the third post in our Back to Basics series. So far, we’ve covered  Finding Volunteers Who Fit Your Organization and Recruiting Volunteers.


It’s time to focus on training the team. At Volunteer U, we believe that well-trained volunteers are empowered volunteers, and empowered volunteers are a force to be reckoned with. Below are five tips to make the most out of training your volunteers. 


1) Cover the Basics. 
It’s crazy how many volunteers can’t repeat the vision of the organization they serve. Does your team know your fundamental values? Can they give a simple elevator pitch to others about what your organization does and why it exists? Do they know the overall structure and who to go to if they have an issue? Your volunteer manager should teach all of these items to the team. The reason your organization has a mission statement is so staff can be united in purpose. According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, leaders should consistently communicate how the team’s work achieves the organization’s goals to engage employees best. Make sure your team understands your mission and vision to keep them committed. 


2) Create Connections.
Connecting volunteers to others at the very start of their experience with the organization is vital to keeping them engaged long-term.  Loyalty is built on emotion. Volunteers who make friends at the beginning of their journey are more inclined to stick around because of the relationships.


3) Teach to Multi-Sensory Learners.

Your team is made up of a lot of different personalities. Not everyone learns the same way, so it’s essential to present your training in a way that engages different learning styles. Make sure to include something for those who are visual, auditory, verbal, physical, logical, social, or solitary. If you’d like to find what learning style you are, take this free assessment


4) Make Technology Work for You.

Training doesn’t have to be classroom-style anymore. Video conferencing, pre-recorded videos, mass texting, and online courses have made virtual training just as practical as in-person teaching. Get creative and find ways to connect with your audience in a way that is convenient and effective for them. 

5) Communicate Your Priorities.

Disney does an incredible job training its employees by focusing on their four keys of service: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. These are the four areas Disney believes guarantees guests extraordinary experience at their resorts and parks. In their training, Disney emphasizes the priority of these four keys. For example, safety is number one. A cast member will exercise safety over courtesy or show if it comes to a guest’s protection. Because cast members understand this priority, they are empowered to make decisions that align with those priorities. When training your team, be sure to emphasize your values and make a distinction in your priorities. Priorities will empower your team to act with your organization’s best practices. 


For more advice on training your dream team, read our How-To Series.