2021 VIRTUAL Literacy Volunteer Management Conference


St. Paul, MN 55114
United States

Friday, December 3 from 8:30am - 2:45pm

The Volunteer Management Conference (VMC) is a one-day professional development opportunity that brings together Adult Basic Education staff who work with volunteers: coordinators, teachers and managers alike. This year, the conference will be virtual, on Zoom.

  • Event Location: Virtual, via Zoom
  • Cost: Free for participants in Minnesota; $20 for participants outside of Minnesota
  • The deadline to register is December 2, 2021.

Get Ready To:

  • Learn new strategies and ideas through 12 concurrent session offerings.
  • Get practical resources you can use right away.
  • Be inspired by this year's award winners for Excellence in Volunteer Engagement.
  • Network and share your professional wisdom with colleagues.
  • Earn CEUs.


Conference Schedule (subject to change):


8:30-9 a.m. | Kickoff and awards ceremony


9:15-10:15 a.m. | Concurrent sessions

Engaging Everyone: Best Practices for Accessible Volunteer Recruitment and Management

Jules Good, Founder and Consulting Lead at Neighborhood Access, https://www.neighborhoodaccess.org/

Join Jules Good, Consulting Lead at Neighborhood Access, for a hands-on workshop on making your volunteer recruitment and engagement more accessible! 1 in 5 people have a disability, and ensuring that everyone can find meaningful ways to interact with your program will lead to a larger and more enthusiastic pool of volunteers. We'll discuss strategies for everything from digital recruitment to on-the-ground collaboration, and you'll get a chance to try them out for yourself. 

English Unlocked, A NEW Curriculum by Literacy Minnesota

Meghan Boyle, Tutor Training Coordinator and Leah Hauge, Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum Coordinator

The new English Unlocked curriculum is a low-prep, flexible, standards-based curriculum for 4 levels of adult ESL. We’ll highlight features of the curriculum including learner-centered activities, texts authored by adult learners, and Assist and Challenge activities for each lesson that give teacher tips to extend and scaffold learning. In this session, we'll walk through the English Unlocked Curriculum and share how programs can purchase the resource, provide feedback, and access free samples.

Managing Uncertainty: How to Use Social Emotional Learning Strategies to Help Adult Students

Wendy Sweeney, Physical and Nonapparent Disability Assistance (PANDA) Manager

Emotions have increased for many due to the uncertainties and constant evolving changes in our world. These uncertainties can impact feelings, thoughts, learning, and teaching. Obtain methods to manage uncertainty. Gain information about social emotional learning (SEL) and how it can be beneficial to adult education. Volunteer managers can share SEL strategies with their volunteers. They will also learn about methods to manage uncertainty in their lives.


10:30-11:30 a.m. | Concurrent sessions

Volunteer Management 101

Patrick Smith, Co-Manager, Open Door Learning Centers

In this session, we will discuss the basics of the volunteer management process, including volunteer recruitment and onboarding, managing risks, giving feedback, and providing support and recognition. We will also discuss ways to address concerns and deal with unexpected volunteer behavior. If you're a new or new-ish volunteer coordinator (or teacher/manager who has responsibility for volunteers), this is the place for you!

Tracking Volunteers in SiD

Jenny Schlukebier, SiD Data System Consultant

We will cover the how and why of tracking volunteers in SiD.
You will learn how to create volunteer records; record time; and run reports required for state reporting and your local needs.

What's New in Volunteer Training?

Rob Podlasek

Come get an overview of the changes happening around volunteer training. We'll look at the new MN ABE training standards and the new Literacy Minnesota training modules designed to help volunteers meet those standards. You'll get a chance to ask questions and to provide feedback for future developments.


11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Lunch break


12:30-1:30 p.m. | Concurrent sessions

8 Strategies for Creating a More Inclusive Volunteer Program

Karmit Bulman, Executive Director of the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA)

Many organizations struggle to engage volunteers who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the communities they service. In response to this issue, the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) recently embarked on are search study which resulted in a set of eight strategies for creating a more inclusive volunteer program within nonprofit and government organizations. These strategies serve as a starting point for leaders who are seeking concrete next steps for better engaging volunteers from racially diverse and immigrant communities. In this interactive session, you’ll learn about the eight strategies, share your own experiences and create an action plan for launching a more inclusive volunteer program within your own organization.

Ways of Using Remote Volunteers

Sheri Lear, ESL Teacher; Barbara Murphy, ESL Teacher; Lloyd Brown, Senior Learning Center Coordinator

For many adult education practioniers, the pandemic was a catalyst for exploring working with volunteers in the virtual classroom. Join us for a panel discussion between three of Literacy Minnesota’s Open Door Learning Center team members. They’ll have conversations about the challenges, joys, and lessons learned from working with volunteers remotely.


1:45-2:45 p.m. | Concurrent sessions

Universal Design for Volunteering

Emily Fox-Penner, Access Coordinator VISTA

You might have heard about Universal Design for Learning as a way to make educational experiences inclusive of all learners. This session explores how universal design principles can help make volunteer experiences more inclusive too. Join us to learn how to anticipate and reduce barriers for volunteers with disabilities in ABE programs.

Marketing and Recruitment Strategies for Your Program

Matthew Miller, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Metro North ABE and Kaija Bergen, Neighborhood House

Discuss the use of digital tools to increase your volunteer participation. We will review how to create online volunteer applications, how to assure your website is appealing to volunteers, and ways to use social media to promote your volunteer opportunities.

The Six Motivators for Volunteering

Rob Podlasek, Literacy Minnesota Training Director

What motivates individuals to volunteer? What keeps them coming back? Explore research into the six "functions" of  volunteering and  how they apply  to your literacy programming.


Questions? Contact Mariah at mwika@literacymn.org or 651-251-9063.


Literacy Minnesota is committed to providing access for people with disabilities at our trainings and events. To request accommodations, please contact Kelly at krynda@literacymn.org or 651-251-9074 at least two weeks in advance.