7 Keys to Effective Volunteer Training

Someone said the reason people don't attend volunteer training is because they have been before.

We all grapple with how to make volunteer training effective.  How can we get people involved?  What format should we use?  How often should we hold training?  

As I have led volunteer training over the past 23 years, I've had some trainings that were a success and others that were a failure, some were home runs and some were strikeouts, some were memorable and some needed to be forgotten, some were energizing and some were blah.  

Through it all, I have found 7 key elements that make up effective volunteer training.  None of these stand alone.  It takes all 7 to make it rock.  Incorporate these into your training and you will see great results. 

There should be laughter.  Lots of it.  This can be done through funny skits, games, jokes, etc.

Make it a party.  Decorate.  Play music when they are arriving.  Give away door prizes.

Serving food shows you value them.  Plus it's hard for people to focus on training if their stomachs are growling.  Don't forget to feed their children as well if they are on site.

Family Friendly.  
People are busy.  Very busy.  Make it easy for them to attend the training.  Instead of asking them to be away from their family for another night, hold the training when they are already at church.  

Perhaps this means having it during service time.  Get a guest speaker for the children and hold the training when your volunteers would normally be serving.  Or hold it right after a service.  If you do have it on a week night, be mindful of the time.  People with kids have school the next day. 

Another option is to offer your training online.  People can watch at their convenience and then discuss the training in a pre-service huddle.

Be prepared.  Know exactly what you are going to cover.  Don't waste their time.  Make it worth their while. 

Faith Building.
We are called to make disciples.  The training should not only help them grow in their children's ministry skills, but in their faith as well.  One goal of the training should be to deepen their walk with Christ.

Felt.  There should be a moment that is memorable and leaves a tear in their eyes.  An "ah ha" moment.  Remind them of why they serve.  Encourage them.  Thank them for the difference they are making.  If possible, give them a small gift to express your appreciation.