Over the next 5 weeks we are offering free training to local voluntary organisations as part of our Spring training program. Our goal is to support you and grow the charity sector in North Surrey and we believe that giving you skills through training to fundraise, manage and recruit volunteers and maintain a strong board of trustees is fundamental to your success.
Why is training important?
All too often in the nonprofit world, budget constraints force us to make hard choices between day to day funding of projects and training for employees and volunteers. It may not just be a question of cost, you may not even have time to attend training. We believe that if you measure the outcomes from educating your staff and volunteers as they relate to your organisational goals then money and/or time spent on training is well spent.
You may need to recruit a strong board, increase fundraising, embrace digital or retain more volunteers. That makes training in these subjects a good investment for the people expected to realise these goals and this is the training you should prioritise.
The success of any organisation is due to its people, and that’s particularly true in the case of the charity sector. During these difficult times, you can show their commitment to staff and volunteers by upskilling those who champion the cause and really contribute to helping your organisation achieve its vision.
Through training, the need for supervision decreases and your staff and volunteers will make better decisions on their own and solve problems more effectively. Training helps develop leadership talent and communication skills, it decreases fear in attempting new tasks and enables handling of stress, frustration and conflicts. These factors give people a chance to perform better which results in developing feelings of satisfaction in their role.Training develops talents and capabilities which ensure that everyone makes a contribution towards your long term goals.
Who to train?
Most training is considered for new volunteers or employees and it is good to invest in development of their skills so that they can increase their contribution. But ongoing training of current employees/volunteers is as important since it helps them to adapt their daily routine work according to changing requirements, improves their performance on current role and prepares them for an intended role. Importantly, training inspires new thinking which helps to reduce resistance to change.
Why not ask your employees and volunteers to identify training they think would help them in their role. Ask them how they would use the learned knowledge/skills/confidence, how these would benefit the team and how they would share the knowledge.
If you only have the money or time to send one person on a course, there are useful things you can do:
- Ask the person who is going on the course to give feedback to other colleagues, share important lessons and any handouts or templates. This also allows the attendee to review and reinforce their learning, meaning that it’s more likely to have an impact.
- Contact a training provider and see if they can come and deliver the training specifically for your team – it is often cheaper. You could also think about sharing a trainer with another voluntary group with similar training needs.
What are your training options?
Excitingly, there are an increasing number of training options:
- We offer face to face training in one of our three offices on the subjects of fundraising, social media, volunteer recruitment and management and governance. There are also a number of local options offered by other volunteer centres and the Surrey Skills Academy.
- Why not set up (or join) an informal network to find peer support where questions, problems and advice are shared and discussed.
- E-learning is an accessible way for staff to learn. Some infrastructure organisations are offering bite-size and accessible training for smaller organisations to access as and when they need it. Have a look at Media Trust, NCVO KnowHow and the Small Charities Coalition.
- As part of their corporate social responsibility, some of the larger search engine and social media platforms offer free training such a google Digital Garage and Facebook Blueprint and don’t forget YouTube with its many ’how to’ videos.
- Webinars can help geographically isolated charities or those short of time and low on office cover. You don’t even need to participate – just sign in, listen and learn.
Finally, use your social media to find blogs to follow – ask other groups what information fills their inboxes and have a look. We suggest MediaTrust, Third Sector, Hubspot, NCVO, White Fuse, UK Fundraising to get you started.