The Results, ROI, and Future Plans
As the Program Director at BBBS-EDC, Amber is ecstatic with the results of implementing the online training program. Volunteers love how interactive it is and report feeling far better prepared to be a mentor after training than before. Busy volunteers also really appreciate the convenience of being able to take the training
online, as they can take the course when they want, as well as start, stop, and rejoin the training as they like. Amber notes that the courses help many volunteers have more realistic expectations, as many come in thinking they’ll “be doing cartwheels from the start with their mentees”. An unexpected side benefit of the
training is that after taking the courses, a few volunteers choose not to be a mentor (“Big”), as they realize that their overly idealistic hopes aren’t going to be met. This self-selection process to choose to not volunteer as a mentor helps reduce premature match closures which can be damaging to youth. BBBS-EDC continues to
offer quarterly in-person post-match trainings in addition to the pre-match online courses, but finds that these in-person trainings are sparsely attended and are often attended by the same group of people each time. Thus, the in-person trainings do not universally reach all mentors.
Amber feels great knowing how much better the quality of her training is for her Bigs, and loves that it frees up her time to be able to devote herself to other critical activities.
There have been some challenges with implementing the online training protocol. For example, some volunteers don’t have regular access to the internet and some older volunteers have reported not being comfortable with using technology. BBBS-EDC has found a simple work around to solve these challenges – they simply invite the volunteers to their office to take the courses there on a computer or tablet.