Creating Association ROI Through Volunteer Training (Toolkit)

Member Volunteers bring passion to their work…

What they don’t always have are the leadership and team skills needed to make the most of that passion.

Tapping effectively into the diverse skills, knowledge and energy of our volunteers requires a commitment on our part to reduce barriers to entry and provide effective volunteer preparation. We need only to look at the effective practices from human resource management to gain a roadmap on how we can do just that.

Yes, volunteers are different from paid staff. The time and attention they can give to training and development for their volunteer roles is limited. In addition, their motivation to spend valuable time on training can be missing. Association VRM (volunteer resource management) requires a modified training system. One approach is to adopt the learner journey map concept for our volunteers. This builds on the customer journey map concept. By offering learner journeys that align with volunteer motivations and aspirations, we can increase their willingness to invest time in training and their effectiveness in doing the volunteer work we need in our associations.

This tool offers an approach for associations to take in designing their volunteer training. It draws on

  • Adult learning journey mapping
  • Volunteer personas aligned with Volunteer Pathway model
  • Volunteer Competencies Matrix

Download the toolkit here.

Additional Resources:


This toolkit was created in collaboration between Peggy Hoffman, FASAE, CAE, president of Mariner Management, and Kristine Metter, MS, CAE, president of Crystal Lake Partners, as well as an advisory panel of association executives.