February Meeting Recap

Peer to Peer Learning: Challenges and effective strategies

Thanks to the Health Brigade Team of Sarah Ann Jennings, Volunteer Coordinator, and Polly Foster, Resource Manager, for a lovely, renovated space for our February Roundtable, on Peer to Peer Learning: Challenges and effective strategies.

Robust discussions in the three focus groups provided some great insights to problems which participants were currently working through at their organizations.

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Brynn Markham facilitated the discussions on “having difficult conversations with volunteers.”

  1. Provide clarity through job descriptions
  2. Make sure training includes step by step procedures which are monitored by the trainer to be sure that the volunteer understands what is required. Help volunteers understand the importance of their part of the process.
  3. When volunteer responsibilities are changing, include volunteers in the planning.

Melissa Gilmore and Jen Miller led the discussions on getting staff buy-in on the value of volunteers to an organization.

  1. Educate staff by including volunteer information in their initial orientation with your organization. Offer guides and mentoring for staff as they work with volunteers.
  2. Help staff build relationships with volunteers by including their stories in newsletters, including them in celebrations, and or team meetings, and other communication channels.
  3. Encourage and help staff develop volunteer roles which will help relieve staff stress.
  4. Look at Betty Stallings trainings to train staff on topics which are meaningful for your staff.

Whitney Guthrie and Tawana Demery facilitated discussions on finding and recruiting new participants for your volunteer program.

  1. Evaluate your program and be intentional in looking for new sources of volunteers.
  2. Include your staff in planning for new volunteers and trouble shooting any perceived issues.
  3. Network with peers to find opportunities to address new pools of volunteers.
  4. Be specific in developing job descriptions so the organization which skills you need to recruit for.

With these strategies and more coming out of the discussions, Brynn Markham, Professional Development Chair for the GRAVA Board, explained the Peer2Peer Mentoring available through GRAVA. More information is available at the GRAVA website here or email Brynn if you are interested in the peer learning opportunities.

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