2023 VIRTUAL Literacy Volunteer Management Conference


Saint Paul, MN 55114
United States

Friday, December 8 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 7, 2023.

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.

Questions? Contact Sophie at sphan@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.


8:30 - 9:00 

Welcome and Award for Excellence in Volunteer Engagement

9:15 - 10:15

Panel Discussion: How Teachers Use Volunteers in Their Classrooms
Barb Murphy, Sheri Lear, Laurie Patton
Join this session to get and share ideas for how to use volunteers in both in-person and online ELL classes. Hear from three teachers about how they have worked with volunteers in their virtual and in-person classrooms over their more than four decades of combined teaching experience. Share your own ideas and leave with renewed excitement for engaging new volunteers and utilizing current ones in different ways.

Engaging and Recruiting Diverse Volunteers Toolkit
Matt Miller, Sophie Phan
How diverse is your volunteer program? In this session, we will be going over why it’s beneficial for your program to have more diversity with your volunteers, how to engage, and where to recruit them! Come and learn more ways of how you can diversify your volunteer program. There will also be room for a discussion at the end.  

Tracking Volunteers in SiD
Jenny Schlukebier, Mary Zimmerli 

Learn the basics of creating volunteer records in SiD and tracking volunteer attendance and other information and how to run reports about your volunteer's activities.

10:30 - 11:30 

Strategies for Optimizing Service Learning Opportunities
Jo Matson
Vietnamese Social Service of MN has been supporting service learning students from multiple colleges. The service learning program has been expanding and VSSMN has been able to accommodate students from multiple majors to provide them both opportunities to develop curriculum in their program areas as well as to experience working with a diverse community. The focus of the session will be on identifying opportunities for student service learning as well as recruiting students, who provide volunteer hours. Lessons learned from developing partnerships and recording service learning student effort will be discussed. There will be an opportunity to share best practices from other ABE sites who also provide service learning.


This is Your School, Too: Creating Welcoming Spaces for LGBTQIA+ Learners, Volunteers and Staff
Erin Cary
In this session, participants will identify ways set up inclusive, welcoming spaces at their program sites for LGBTQIA+ people (and other people traditionally marginalized by our institutions). Participants will build comfort using nonbinary pronouns and messaging LGBTQIA+ inclusion to learners and volunteers, practice repairing miscommunications around gender and sexuality, and prepare ways to speak up when they witness incidents of misgendering.

Volunteer Management 101
Marian Kimball Eichinger
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!

12:30 - 1:30

Shining a Light on the Benefits of Volunteerism 
Meghan Boyle

ABE staff working with volunteers can easily rattle off several ways having volunteers in their programs benefit learners, staff and the program itself, but how about benefits to volunteers? Attend this session to revisit how volunteering benefits volunteers, talk about how those benefits can be used to bolster volunteer use in your program, as well as how they can help mitigate saviorism.

Understanding & Addressing Tokenistic Volunteer Attitudes
Brianne Carmichael
Research suggests that the desire to help others is strong across all demographics of people; however, volunteerism remains predominately White, with highest rates coming from socioeconomically advantaged groups…but it doesn’t have to remain this way! In this session we will explore the volunteer gap between White and BIPOC volunteers. We will examine the effect that “Tokenistic Volunteer” attitudes & behaviors have on a diverse volunteer force, how to recognize/disrupt it and identify strategies that prioritizes actions that foster inclusion and create meaningful, impactful experiences for BIPOC volunteers.

Flex Time: Volunteers in a HyFlex Class
Elizabeth Bennett
HyFlex classes can be crazy-making for teachers and volunteers, but they don't have to be! Come to this session to hear some ideas for utilizing volunteers' skills and passion for supporting learners in these settings. There will be time for questions and sharing your own experiences and ideas.

1:45 - 2:45

Supporting Digital Learning with Volunteers
Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt, Panel
Digital environments can be challenging for many adult education participants to navigate. Teachers and staff often want to do more to support their participants’ use of technology, but lack the capacity to do it all by themselves. Volunteers can help! Whether it’s tutoring in a digital literacy lab, assisting in an online or HyFlex class, answering questions about a distance learning platform, or connecting someone to the Affordable Connectivity Program as a volunteer digital navigator, there are numerous roles for volunteers. In this session, we will hear from panelists in a variety of adult education settings about how they use volunteers to support their participants’ digital learning. Bring your questions and ideas to share as well!

Nine Ways to Improve Volunteer Retention
Sophie Phan
In this session we’ll talk about effective strategies for improving volunteer retention including: providing clear expectations and responsibilities, offering opportunities for growth and development, recognizing and appreciating volunteers’ contributions, providing ongoing training and support and more! Come to this session for the nine tips and stick around for a group discussion. 

What is New (and not-so-new) in Volunteer Training 
Rob Podlasek
Come get an overview of what’s happening in volunteer training. We'll review the Minnesota ABE training standards and the Literacy Minnesota training resources designed to help volunteers meet those standards. You'll get a chance to ask questions and to provide feedback for future developments.