Many InReach clients are professional organizations that rely heavily on volunteers to develop and deliver professional continuing education. Volunteer planners and presenters are critical to the success of continuing education offered by associations, law schools, medical associations, and other organizations. While CE professionals recognize this symbiotic relationship and the importance of it, few have implemented measures to nurture, measure or improve relationships with volunteers. Most CE organizations limit volunteer recognition to a speaking gift, but there is so much more that can be done!

Generally, volunteer initiatives can fall into three buckets: training them, working with them, and showing appreciation for them. Here are a few ideas:


  • Welcome and provide orientation
  • Confirm expectations as a volunteer
  • Provide speaker training
    • Online and live
    • Address best practices in presentations, slides, and materials
    • Give out a certificate!
  • Create speaker mentoring program
    • Makes it easier to retire speakers
    • Creates a better prepared new volunteer


  • Start out working with new volunteers on limited tasks
  • Provide a manageable workload with clear deadlines
  • Don’t waste your volunteers time
    • Be prepared
    • Provide support
  • Check in with volunteers during the timeline where deliverables are being worked on
  • Answer emails and return calls as soon as practically possible
  • Communicate with appreciation in all emails and calls throughout the period


  • Acknowledge success
    • Thank you notes
    • Thank you on social media
    • Thank your volunteer’s boss or superior
  • Provide evaluation summaries
  • Provide your volunteer with an evaluation of your staff: how was it working with us, and how can we improve? Implement appropriate changes
  • Celebrate National Volunteer Week!
    • Provide a pizza lunch
    • Post to social media
    • Solicit new volunteers
  • Provide and publish on volunteer contributions; data for leadership and organization’s members
  • Publish a thank you to your volunteers in a published ad or article in your organization’s professional publications
  • Create an annual award spotlighting one volunteer