Great volunteers aren’t born, they’re made … through training, prep and experience. When you’re first starting out, just showing up is so important and usually half the work of volunteering. But as you take on more responsibility — to lead a group of volunteers, lead kids, lead a board or advocate for your neighborhood, for example — you’ll want to do it better.
Trainings, meetings and events can not only help you be a better volunteer, they can help you meet others who are out in the community, giving it their all, too. Looking for more volunteers? New ideas to keep your volunteers happy? Someone to grouse with? Take a look at the following organizations, events and trainings.
Remember, when you sign up for specific volunteer experiences like mentoring, delivering meals and coaching, you’re likely to have to go through training and maybe even background checks. These resources are here to give you support, information and even a network of peers.
Don’t forget: Austin’s ripe with networking and learning events. Check in with our new Community Calendar to see what’s coming up.
This list would not be complete without including Leadership Austin, which is not specifically for volunteers but does offer training, programming and events that can help you understand the community better and identify your leadership strengths and weaknesses. The programming is top-notch and worth every penny because you also come away with a network of people just like you who are working on solving some of our community’s greatest problems.
Offers training and events for board members (volunteers) and nonprofit professionals, as well as anyone working in the community to make a difference. It offers certificates in nonprofit studies including leadership, grant writing, volunteer management, fundraising and marketing, all geared toward new and upcoming nonprofits.
Recommended for nonprofit professionals and volunteer board members who want to really dig deep, Mission Capital is great for board training, but it also offers three leadership academies for professionals and an annual conference that’s a must-attend for the sector. Prices here are notoriously high, but members get better rates. They also partner with I Live Here, I Give Here and the Austin Young Chamber to offer a multi-day board training, Austin Involved.
AFP is best known for the annual Philanthropy day luncheon, held in February and attended by 900 from the sector. But it also hosts monthly luncheons with great speakers. Members get discounts on all programming, and it’s a membership as known for its professionalism as it is for its generosity in sharing knowledge.
If you’re in charge of finding volunteer opportunities for your group, consider the dashboard of Hands on Central Texas. Companies large and small work with HOCT to find and organize big group projects and connect with agencies that need your help. Also, don’t miss its volunteer project leader training for novices and professionals. You want those volunteers to come back, don’t you? This training shows you how to create a good volunteer experience.
Nonprofit Tech Club Austin is an informal, volunteer-run group of nonprofit professionals passionate about using technology to fulfill their missions. Local Nonprofit Tech Club Austin events offer an opportunity for professionals at all levels to learn about the latest tools and trends while meeting new people in a welcoming environment. All events are free to join regardless of NTEN membership. You’ll find them on Facebook and Meetup.
A membership organization of professional volunteer leaders, DOVIA members meet but it offers an annual one-day conference that anyone can attend (this year’s in August 11). Sign up to meet others who organize volunteers and learn how to recruit, retain and grow.
Joining the Parent Teacher Association at your child’s school is a great way to help them raise funds for more programming, equipment, outings, library books, gym equipment… let’s just say there’s always something out there you want for your kids. The Texas PTA can help you launch a PTA at your school or strengthen the one there now. View its resource guides in advocacy, arts in education, wellness and more. Plus, you can apply for the Emerging Leaders Academy to take your PTA to the next level.
Parents, it’s one thing knowing the game. It’s another thing knowing how to teach the game in a way that helps a kid have a positive, confidence-building learning experience. The Central Texas chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance offers online resources as well as workshops and programs and even a certification, many of them created by professional coaches from across the country.
The Austin EcoNetwork offers an online breakdown of how to get involved in local government, including how the local government works, how the budget works, how elections are run and more. Check out this online resource or request to have a presentation come to you.
Don’t forget to check out our Community Calendar, where we add more learning, networking and informational events throughout the year.