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Personal Volunteer History

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Want to elicit an “ah-ha!” moment from people who think too narrowly about what volunteering is and who does it?  The “Personal Volunteer History” worksheet provided in this Training Designs article is the core of a training exercise that will do just that. It will help:

  • Demonstrate to paid staff or members of the general public that everyone has been (and probably still is) a volunteer in some way, although that label might not be applied to the activity. So it’s a great way to start an introductory workshop or course about volunteering, particularly the issue of vocabulary making much of volunteering invisible.
  • Guide a screening interview – of both volunteers and employees – to gauge the candidate’s personal understanding of volunteering.
  • Structure volunteer orientation sessions and even recognition events, putting the service that volunteers do for your organization into personal context.

Generally the hardest part of the exercise is getting participants to really think back on what they have done over their lives (the older the respondent, the more they need to remember!). But the worksheet’s greatest value is in the reflection and discussion it can generate, which is something e-Volunteerism readers can appreciate.