2021 Volunteer Development Needs Assessment Final Report

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.

Volunteer Leader Needs Assessment

Where Leaders Get Their Information & Resources to Perform their Roles

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.

Preferred Training and Resource Format

The preference for the format of training and resources is as follows:

  • PDF or Printable Packet Form
  • In-Person Events
  • Recorded Videos
  • Slides, Such as Google Slides or PowerPoint
  • Live Webinars

Training Topics

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

  • Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Handbook
  • Awards and Recognition for Youth
  • New Methods of Teaching Youth
  • Leadership Development for Youth
  • Fundamentals of 4-H
  • Grant Writing and Fundraising
  • All about Record Books

Agent Needs Assessment

How Agents Share Information with 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.

Preferred Training and Resource Format

Agents prefer their resources as:

  • PDF or Printable Packets
  • In-Person Events
  • PowerPoint

Training Topics

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.

Top Resources and Training Most Requested by Agents for Volunteers Include:

  • Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Handbook
  • All about Record Books
  • Fundamentals of 4-H
  • Leadership Development for Youth
  • Risk Reduction and Risk Management
  • Awards and Opportunities for Youth

In this area, Risk Management and Risk Reduction was ranked high by agents but not by volunteers.

Agent Needs: Volunteer Development Topics

Agents requested more training on the topics of:

  • Motivating Volunteers
  • Empowering Volunteers
  • Volunteer Enrollment and Screening
  • Working with Difficult Volunteers
  • Developing Effective Volunteer Training and Orientation Programs
  • Volunteer Reporting/Dynamics Training

Since the needs assessment, many of these topics have already been addressed via training and resources developed at the state and regional levels.

Action Items in Response to the Needs Identified


  • All current volunteer training modules are being re-designed with the assistance of the committee and will be launched this program year.
  • New training modules and resources are being developed to address the current volunteer and agent needs.
  • The monthly Volunteer Leader Webinar will continue to cover core volunteer needs that were identified.
  • The Volunteer Development Lunch and Learn will continue to cover volunteer development topics requested by agents.

Email & Website

  • Volunteers and agents look to the Louisiana 4-H website to be continuously updated with resources and other needed materials. This has already been addressed by the volunteer specialist and training committee and will continue to be updated as more resources are developed and disseminated.
  • Creating a volunteer section of parish websites is encouraged (if not already in use).
  • In sharing information, newsletters and informative emails should be developed to be easily forwarded to leaders.
  • The volunteer specialist and training committee will continue to grow the leader mailing list and send out communication and resources to volunteers and agents.
  • Agents should continue to share essential information, like the volunteer newsletter or other volunteer-specific information, with their volunteers when necessary.

Resource Development & Sharing

  • Agents and specialists should continue producing volunteer resources in the preferred format requested by volunteers, including pdf, in-person events, editable slides, and recorded videos.
  • Agents are encouraged to share the “Letters to Leaders” and 4-H Volunteer Leader Handbook with volunteers, as many of the resources requested by volunteers are already available in this series in the preferred pdf format.
  • Beyond in-person events, 4-H professionals should produce training and resources for volunteers that can be easily replicated, reshared, and offer the volunteer the most flexibility.
  • Given that the volunteer webinar series recordings are ranked as a training source by volunteers, agents should make an effort to send emails to your volunteers about the online training seminars so that volunteers can continue to participate.

Download the Final Report

For questions or comments, please contact Meggan Franks, Volunteer & Leadership Development Specialist.

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8/14/2021 10:02:01 PM
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