One skill many of us have perfected over the past year is video conferencing. Whether you used Zoom video chats to keep in touch with friends and family during COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020 and 2021 or worked collaboratively with colleagues using Google Meetings, we’ve all learned new techniques to use video calls effectively. Nonprofits are now putting those new skills to work, using online training programs to activate new volunteers in their communities. There are many benefits to implementing a virtual training model at your nonprofit, including cost, timeliness, and productivity.
The number one reason to implement online training in support of your nonprofit’s volunteer engagement plan is that it lowers the bar for new volunteers to join your team. Most people are now quite experienced in video and online training technology, from use over the past year. In addition, online training platform technology has simplified to the point that most attendees can access virtual training with the mobile or desktop tools they have available at home. For those who can’t, however, it’s important to offer non-live video training opportunities that volunteers who don’t have access to high-speed internet at home can use instead. Some options include in-person, phone, or printed/hand-out versions of the live online training for volunteers.
Another reason to use virtual volunteer training is the cost. Online training programs provide a way to bring high-quality training resources directly to your volunteers no matter where they, or the speaker, are located. Using virtual training reduces travel budgets and allows you to invite prominent team members (like senior leaders) or other trainers from across the U.S. (or the world) to engage with your volunteers. Virtually, this requires a much smaller investment (in both time and cost) for training participants. In addition, online training is now less expensive to implement than ever before, making it a smaller budget expenditure for most nonprofit teams than in-person training. Using a virtual platform can help reduce the time off needed for volunteers to travel to in-person training, money spent on food and beverages, the cost of renting training space, and more.
Adding a virtual training model to help support your nonprofit team also helps improve responsiveness when new training is needed. Instead of one in-person training a year or quarter, you can offer training opportunities online throughout a volunteer’s time with your organization. When new information is required, virtual training offers a quicker, less intrusive option than in-person events to share timely news and information. You can also use virtual training to keep volunteer teams engaged and collaborating with one another, sharing best practices when they are geographically dispersed or volunteering virtually due to COVID-19 safety requirements.
Executive directors and volunteer managers looking for a new way to provide volunteer training this year should consider the cost-effectiveness, responsiveness, and improved productivity that can result in training new and ongoing volunteers virtually. WeThrive’s online training tools help increase engagement, reduce the barriers to becoming a trained volunteer, and improve your team’s responsiveness to new training requirements as they come up. To learn more, book a demo and get started.
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