The Volunteer Journey is a comprehensive tool that helps us understand the pathway each volunteer walks while engaged with AFS. Responding to a changing world, we launched the Online Volunteer Series in April. For the past months, OD staff have been meeting online on a bi-weekly basis. During these calls, we discuss the ways we can adapt the Journey to a post-COVID world.

After covering lead management in the Engagement Section, we have reached Participation. This section about transforming volunteers into active participants and changemakers of the organization. When trying to imagine what happens to a volunteer when they gain some experience, we need to realize one thing. Each of them moves through the different stages of Participation in a unique order. Just like a map, one explores the opportunities volunteering offers the way they like and can.

volunteers have a choice to engage in diverse activities.

The Roles & Tasks stage helps match the volunteer’s existing and desired skills to a career path. Clarifying these different pathways for volunteers can be a huge help in navigating one’s development. However, it all starts with finding adequate tasks and roles. The AFS volunteer community counts tens of thousands of individuals with their unique skills and goals. Finding activities that suit one’s desires is an exciting adventure.

A role or task description is an unwritten contract between the volunteer and AFS. It not only gives a detailed description of the responsibilities but also helps one understand what knowledge they can gain. We can support this developmental journey by regular debriefing.

Learn how to write competing task and role descriptions with these materials:

TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL IN SUPPORTING VOLUNTEER DEVELOPMENT

At AFS we take pride in providing valuable learning opportunities. The Training Stage helps us customize the support we give volunteers to developing the skills and knowledge needed to fulfill their roles and tasks. As it is a vital element of volunteer development, we need to focus on regularity and structure. Designing a training calendar can help understand what opportunities your volunteers have throughout the year to upskill. In order to structurize this, we should create a training strategy. It will help us navigate the type of knowledge we need people walking similar career paths to acquire.

Training doesn’t always have to be facilitated by OD Staff. We can bring together already experienced volunteers to form a Pool of Trainers.

Do you want to know how? See here.