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How to Welcome and Orient Volunteers Online: Experiences from George House Trust

How to Welcome and Orient Volunteers Online: Experiences from George House Trust

Volunteers increasingly come to organizations with expectations that their involvement will be supported by the smart use of new technologies – during recruitment, induction, and in their actual volunteering. As shown in previous Training Designs, the Internet and video have the potential to revolutionize how we welcome and train volunteers and support their ongoing learning and development. In this issue, Laura Hamilton shares how George House Trust in the UK uses webinars and other e-learning tools to support the orientation and briefing of volunteers for one-off events and also to enhance organizational induction for all volunteers. Hamilton offers a step-by-step guide to successfully incorporate online learning from the start of volunteer engagement.

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Tue, 12/03/2013
Hi Laura, An exciting journey you have been on. I have a background in online learning and when I took on the role of National Manager Volunteering at the Cancer Society, I introduced online orientation and induction for similar reasons as you pointed out. A few months ago, we developed a module for the street collectors on Daffodil Day. Many collectors do this as a one-off opportunity so we wanted to ensure they knew the basics about our organisation, the key messages and some practical information relating to their involvement. (see: We are now also working on a generic orientation for regular volunteers. Again similar to your motivation to reduce the time spend on the face to face orientation (whilst not replacing the face to face orientation as it's essential for building rapport etc.) We are (not yet) using an LMS and cannot keep track on progress. The modules sit on our website. But that might be something to implement later. I've developed the modules with Articulate, and e-learning authoring tool. I am certainly going to explore the options you are also using like video streaming, Skype and Google Hangouts. Thanks for sharing, very motivational.

Mon, 12/09/2013
Hi Helga, Thanks for sharing about what you're doing at Cancer New Zealand! I've had a look at the Daffodil Day module on your website and love how simple and accessible it is! LMS enables you to track learners' progress but the downside is that there are more steps for volunteers to go through (e.g. logging in, changing their password, navigating to the resources) than when things are directly available through your website or on youtube. I haven't heard of Articulate before but am going to check it out. Thanks again for taking the time to comment and share! Laura