Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals Course


ServeOhio seeks to increase the capacity of Ohio nonprofits to recruit, engage, and retain volunteers. To achieve this goal, ServeOhio developed the Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals Course which will engage volunteer engagement professionals in training, technical support, and ongoing coaching to increase the use and effectiveness of volunteers across Ohio. 


Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals Course

ServeOhio is pleased to partner with VQ Volunteer Strategies to provide a comprehensive volunteer management training course, Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals. This virtual 6-week course will be offered twice per year in the spring and fall and is comprised of six weekly 90-minute sessions focused on key volunteer management practices. Sessions will equip participants with a strong foundation to successfully engage volunteers within their organization. The course is designed for new and mid-level volunteer engagement professionals (0 – 5 years’ experience) in Ohio who work in nonprofit, community, faith-based, higher education, or government organizations. Sessions will include:

  • Up-to-date information on engagement trends and strategies
  • Specific strategies for volunteer engagement
  • Thought-provoking discussions and group exercises
  • Tools and templates that participants can begin using immediately to enhance volunteer engagement
  • Virtual community of practice to connect and share with peers between sessions


The Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals Course is free. An application is required.

Spring Course Schedule: March 3 – April 7, 2022

The Spring Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals Course will be conducted March 3 – April 7, 2022. Weekly sessions will take place virtually via Zoom on Thursdays from 10:00 – 11:30 AM. The application for the Spring Course is closed.

Session 1: March 3

  • Creating Strategic Volunteer Roles
    • Focus: Designing volunteer roles to address organizational needs and attract prospective volunteers.
    • Content:
      • Trends in volunteer engagement
      • New roles for volunteers and staff
      • Assessing needs
      • Developing position descriptions

Session 2: March 10

  • Cultivation and Recruitment
    • Focus: Designing plans and strategies to recruit new volunteers and cultivate existing ones for deeper engagement
    • Content:
      • Leveraging position descriptions to identify target markets
      • Defining recruitment vs. cultivation
      • Effective strategies to recruit across generations and reach diverse communities
      • Crafting effective recruitment messages
      • Recruitment metrics

Session 3: March 17

  • Screening and Placement
    • Focus: Screening and placing volunteers based on finding the best match between the organization’s strategic needs and the skills, abilities, and interests of potential volunteers
    • Content:
      • Elements of screening
      • Interviewing and finding the fit
      • Overcoming bias
      • High impact interview questions
      • How to say “no”

Session 4: March 24

  • Support and Accountability
    • Focus: Staff and volunteers working as partners, agreeing upon the work to be done, and supporting each other toward success
    • Content:
      • Setting staff and volunteers up for success
      • Expectation setting
      • Onboarding
      • Training
      • Providing feedback
      • Retention

Session 5: March 31

  • Measuring and Communicating Volunteer Impact
    • Focus: Regularly measuring, evaluating, and communicating the impact of volunteer work
    • Content:
      • Benefits of impact measurement
      • Defining outcomes and volunteer value
      • Emerging methods of measuring impact
      • Communicating impact

Session 6: April 7

  • Volunteer Recognition
    • Focus: Trends in volunteer recognition and importance of nurturing a culture of appreciation
    • Content:
      • Research on recognition
      • Creating a culture of appreciation
      • Recognition based on motivational styles
      • Creating recognition plans

Course participants will also participate in a virtual community of practice to connect and share with peers between sessions.

Application Process

An application is required to participate in the Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals Course.  Applicants must commit to participating in all 6 sessions of the course. All participants must either reside in Ohio or work in an Ohio-based nonprofit, community, faith-based, higher education, or government organizations. The deadline to apply for the course is February 3, 2022 at 11:59 PM.

ServeOhio staff will review applications. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by February 10, 2022.   

Please refer questions regarding the Volunteer Engagement Fundamentals Course to Sarah Short, Volunteer Engagement Program Officer, at Sarah.Short@serveohio.gov.