Archive for June, 2012

Traits of Highly Effective Volunteer Managers

Friday, June 29th, 2012

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkEffective managers are often highly driven professionals. But to be successful at managing volunteers, they need additional qualities. Drive, plus great people skills, equals respect. And respected managers have happier volunteers who accomplish more.

When it comes to handling volunteers, there are several qualities that can help a manager excel. Some people have them, and some don’t. But that doesn’t mean that any professional who finds him or herself in the position of volunteer manager—or aspires to become one—can’t develop these traits as well.

  1. Confidence tempered with humility: Having confidence is great. Confident people are aware of their capabilities and seem to be able to do most anything. But an overdose of self-confidence can lead to arrogance, unless it’s tempered with some good old-fashioned humility. Remember, nobody’s perfect—not even the most confident manager.
  2. Owning mistakes: Taking responsibility should be learned at an early age, but not everyone gets it. People respect leaders who take responsibility for their own mistakes, as well as for the failures of the team.
  3. Passion, plus compassion: It’s wonderful to have passion for your work or your organization’s mission. But don’t forget to remember why you’re there. Demonstrating compassion for those you serve and those who stand beside you serving will lead people to follow you anywhere.
  4. Problem solving finesse: Great volunteer managers face problems, just like the rest of us. But rather than becoming negative, focusing on assigning blame or sticking their heads in the sand, they buck up and find resolutions. And the very best use their ability to think strategically to find long-lasting solutions, not just quick, temporary fixes.
  5. Unwavering integrity: Doing what you’ll say you’ll do is the hallmark of a great leader. There is no substitute for it. Failing to do so will lead to a loss of respect faster than just about anything.

No matter where you are in your career, you can work on leadership traits that can help you get where you want to go, and earn the respect of everyone you work with along the way.

Training Volunteers: Keep it Simple

Friday, June 8th, 2012

volunteer screening blogWhile every volunteer learns differently, there are similarities in how we all learn. The trick to effective training is to match teaching methods to how people learn.

We can remember things better when they’re attached to an experience, or when they are meaningful. So, making a training session matter to volunteers will help them retain the information. It also helps to make it experiential. Hands-on tasks, rather than just listening to someone talk, will typically result in better training.

We’re all bombarded with technology and more information than we can process. And we can only absorb so much, even if it is presented experientially. That’s why it’s important to limit the amount of information you give volunteer trainees at any time. Keep training sessions short, with frequent breaks and plenty of review time.

As time passes, we forget what we’ve learned—particularly if we don’t use it often. The more time passes, the less we can remember. Think about a recent seminar you’ve attended, webinar you’ve participated in or class you’ve taken. How much of what you learned have you retained? You can help prevent that “brain drain” in volunteers, by reinforcing training continually

When it comes to volunteer training, you can sum it all up by remembering to make lessons meaningful, keep training sessions short, and reinforcing training on a regular basis.

Count on for your volunteer prescreening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with volunteer background checks.