In the spring of 2021, the volunteer training committee, composed of 4-H professionals and volunteers, developed a research-based needs assessment instrument that would capture the training and resource needs of volunteers and agents throughout the state in the area of volunteer development. In all, 114 volunteers and 56 agents completed the needs assessment.
Volunteers reported that most of the information and resources they receive to help them with their programs and projects come directly from agent and specialist emails and the Louisiana 4-H website. They also said they would prefer their resources on the Louisiana 4-H or parish webpage or through an email newsletter.
The preference for the format of training and resources is as follows:
Aspects of Leadership: Volunteers reported being receptive to training in the areas of Committee Functions (1), The Mechanics of a 4-H Club (2), and Program Planning (3). In this category, Parliamentary Procedures looked to be the topic least desired by volunteers.
Leadership Roles: Volunteers reported that they would like to receive more training on Recruitment of 4-H Members (1), Role of the 4-H Leader (2) and Working with Other Leaders (3). Stages of Youth Development was the topic where volunteers were well trained and did not desire any additional training.
Program Development: 4-H Teaching Tools and Methods was most requested, while the Purpose of 4-H was the topic are where volunteers were well trained and did not desire additional training.
Awards and Recognition: volunteers requested more training on Opportunities and Awards for Members and were less interested in Opportunities for Leaders but by only a marginal amount.
Top 7 Resources and Training Topics Desired by Volunteers
Agents claim that most of the information they share with volunteers comes from the state newsletter or specialist emails. Agents stated that they want their resources available on the Louisiana 4-H website, Teams, or as an email newsletter.
Agents prefer their resources as:
Aspects of Leadership: Agents ranked most topics under Aspects of Leadership high and stated that the 4-H Club Meeting was the highest needed training topic from this section, but it was one of the lowest requested by volunteers.
Leadership Roles: Agents ranked most items high in this category, including Working with Teen Leaders and Roles of a 4-H Leader, which were also highly requested by volunteers. Furthermore, Stages of Youth Development was ranked high but was the least needed training requested by volunteers in this area.
Program Development: 4-H Teaching Tools and Methods was the most requested, while the Purpose of 4-H was the item least requested by agents, which was consistent with the volunteers’ assessment.
Awards and Recognition: Agents requested more training on Opportunities and Awards For Members as equal to Awards and Opportunities for Volunteers; however, volunteers were slightly less interested in opportunities for themselves.
In this area, Risk Management and Risk Reduction was ranked high by agents but not by volunteers.
Agents requested more training on the topics of:
Since the needs assessment, many of these topics have already been addressed via training and resources developed at the state and regional levels.
For questions or comments, please contact Meggan Franks, Volunteer & Leadership Development Specialist.