Onboarding Volunteers Who Might Need Extra Help

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Not all your volunteers may not be super savvy when it comes to technology or video calls. Ideally, you can feel out their level of confidence in a one-to-one ahead of training or sessions.

How?

Depends. It might just be a case of encouraging them to ask somebody close to them for help or encouraging them to have a go after sharing some guidance. If you do that, make sure to check in with them again: See if they’re feeling confident or whether they need further support.

Really effective but somewhat time-intensive is an onboarding phone call – perhaps you can integrate this into a one-to-one conversation you’d be having anyways. Ideally, you share video call joining information with your participant but start the conversation on the (conventional) phone. Then, you guide them through the video call joining process until they can see and hear you over video call (and you them). If everything goes to plan, you can then hang up the phone and continue your conversation over Zoom (or whichever software you’re using).

Why?

– It’ll save you time and grievances later on. It’s much easier (and better for everybody’s nerves) to help people out individually and at a scheduled time than to ‘quickly’ assist them when the session has already started.

– It’ll be a massive confidence-boost for them. There is nothing more empowering than learning a new skill and using it. Plus, it might also help them in other aspects of their life and mean they are more prepared for when/if we have to go into another lockdown in the (hopefully very, very distant) future.

– It’ll prepare them for mentoring in what I’ll just euphemistically call “interesting times”.

Helpful stuff:

This is a really good introductory guide on how to join Zoom meetings by Digital Unite (article) – it doesn’t make any assumptions, e.g. that Zoom is already downloaded, but doesn’t complicate things either

Here are Zoom’s own instructions on how to join a meeting – I’ve found the video quite useless but the step-by-step instructions are great. Especially if ‘joining by link’ doesn’t work – which happens to a lot of people (including me) because their browser blocks the pop-up thingy – these are really useful.

This is a two-page pdf about what Zoom webinars are and how to participate in one by the Digital Champions Network (pdf) – this might not be relevant for your training: mind the difference between Zoom ‘Meeting’ and ‘Webinar’ explained in the Videoconferencing Basics section.