If you’ve ever attended a webinar, you might be familiar with the process: register, join, take notes, then — more often than we’d like to admit — move on to the next meeting or project.
We are busy professionals juggling competing priorities that we sometimes forget webinars aren’t one-and-done. Incorporating the most relevant takeaways into our respective volunteer programs matters. Yet, we excuse ourselves with the standard narrative: we have limited resources … especially time.
But let’s consider a different narrative. If you incorporate just one takeaway from each webinar you attend, you’ll make that hour spent learning much more worthwhile. That actionable step makes the difference.
In this post, we’ll share four ways to make your next volunteer engagement webinar a valuable experience (and time well-spent).
1. Note-taking Made Smarter, Not Harder
I really enjoy taking notes. Even with all the recent technology committed to making note-taking easier, I still prefer handwriting notes in my Moleskine notebook. There’s something cathartic about putting pen to paper.
Best practices for bulleted note-taking can be as simple as a “–” for something important, “*” for extra important. (Luckily, you can do with both paper and computer notes!) The real magic happens after. Once you’ve distilled important concepts and generated ideas to bring to your volunteer engagement webinar, go through your notes and identify the webinar’s most important takeaways.
Here’s where things get interesting. Plot each takeaway along an Action Priority Matrix — which benchmarks impact against level of effort. This will help you prioritize your efforts and determine that one webinar takeaway you absolutely must implement (tip: these matrices are good for prioritization overall, not just webinars).
2. Don’t Replicate. Recreate!
Webinar instructors typically make their Google or PowerPoint slides available before or after each webinar. With VolunteerMatch webinars, you can always find copies of our webinar slide decks on Slideshare — from Social Media and Volunteer Engagement to Telling the Story of Volunteer Impact. (And sometimes, a full recording of the webinar on YouTube.)
We’ll also email you a copy of the slide deck about an hour after each webinar ends.
Productive notetaking comes into play here, too. If you get a copy of the slides for each webinar, don’t duplicate notes. Instead, capture and summarize what’s mentioned in conversation and off-screen. If you need to reference a note to a particular slide, consider writing down the number of the slide next to each bullet.
3. Good Webinars Include Next Steps
A good webinar is defined by the speaker’s credentials or experience, insightful content, and actionable takeaways. You should get a sense of whether the webinar incorporates these components by reading through its description and speaker bio.
We take pride in embodying these values through more than 22 topics on our Learning Center — from Building Staff Buy-In for Volunteer Engagement Program to Writing Accurate and Useful Position Descriptions. You’ll see learning outcomes identified in each of our webinar descriptions, along with a summary of the webinar content and speaker’s experience.
Each of our webinars also features “next steps” toward the end to help guide you through implementing discussed changes and updates to your volunteer engagement program.
4. Webinars Shape Careers (Literally)
It’s no doubt you’ll learn a thing or two by attending a volunteer engagement webinar. But in our industry, there’s another added benefit. Attending webinars can help you earn learning units toward your Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA) renewal.
In order to renew your CVA, which is required once every five years, you’ll need to have 35 Professional Development Units (PDUs) under your belt. You can earn these units by attending one of our webinars! Most VolunteerMatch webinars on the VolunteerMatch Learning Center will earn you one unit (15 units-max) toward your 35-credit renewal goal. Just keep your webinar follow-up emails as proof of attendance.
The best part? All of our webinars are free!
The next time you attend a volunteer engagement webinar, put these tips for implementing takeaways in your back pocket. And remember, webinar takeaways can benefit your volunteer engagement program just as much as they’ll benefit yourself (and your career).
Get started by signing up for one or all of our upcoming webinars!