Center for Nonprofit Management: http://www.cnm.org
On any given day, you will probably hear the BHB women declare how much they love to learn about three times. That said, you can imagine how much we all geeked out when we found out we would each have the opportunity to participate in eight workshops at the Center for Nonprofit Management for FREE! The Center for Nonprofit Management offers training, consultation, and evaluation for the nonprofit community. Their training program includes workshops for the public, networking events and the chance to earn certificates in areas like Nonprofit Leadership, Volunteer Management and Fund Development. Most certificates require around five or six workshops, so the BHB women can use our free workshops to earn a certificate and/or just for the sake of learning-which we all love to do.
On August 28, I participated in a workshop called “Volunteer Management: Part 1”. The workshop was led by Amy Maloney, the Director of Corporate Relations and Special Events at Hands on Nashville and Erika Burnett, the Director of Community Programs at Hands on Nashville. I chose to take this workshop, because my experiences a volunteer for several nonprofits sparked my interest in what it is like to be on the volunteer management side, and, because, volunteers are vital to the success of all nonprofits. We began the workshop by introducing ourselves. Compared to the usual class size of 12 participants, our class of 19 was HUGE! There were participants from organizations all over Nashville, including the Nashville Red Cross, Room in the Inn and the YWCA. As it turns out, we had a room that consisted of several artists and musicians, a stand up paddle surfer, and approximately 19 people who were completely obsessed with dogs.
The six main points we discussed for the seven hour workshop were Building a Volunteer Program’s Foundation, Volunteer Roles, Risk Management, Recruitment, Orientation, and Training. The workshop was both lecture and discussion based. Workshop leaders shared their experiences and advice, and participants did likewise and shared their questions. One of my favorite parts of the workshop was learning about the different types of learning styles and how they apply to running volunteer trainings and orientations. We also took a quiz to figure out our own learning style. (For the record, I’m an auditory learner.) The ultimate lesson that the leaders wanted us to take away from the workshop as a whole is that the most valuable volunteer management tool is the JOB DESCRIPTION. A volunteer job description that is detailed, current, clear and complete acts a guide for the volunteer, the coordinator of volunteers and other staff members.
We ended the workshop by dividing into groups and assembling snack packs for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee that would go to Tennessee’s economically disadvantaged school-age youth. Each group was given a different set of instructions. One group was given a full flyer that explained the program and detailed instructions on how to assemble the snack packs, and the leaders interacted with them and assisted them often. Two groups were given a plain sheet of paper that did not provide information about the program, but included several steps for making the snack packs. The leaders interacted with those groups but not as much as the first group. The final group was given a sheet of paper that only said, “Make snack packs.” The leaders provided hurried interaction at the beginning and then did not interact with them anymore once they began the activity. This was a fun, creative way to learn about not only how important it is to share the mission of your nonprofit organization with volunteers but how to run a volunteer training session or event that leaves the volunteers feeling secure and happy.
I had a great time at my first Center for Nonprofit Management workshop, and I am so excited to my next workshop in a couple days called, “Help! I Need a New Donor Database!”. By the way, at final count, I used the words learn, learning or learner five times in this blog, not including the three in this sentence. Imagine what it’s like on a day to day basis in this house! Yay learning!