Volunteers are fundamental to many successful Extension programs. Research indicates that nearly one third of volunteers will choose not to continue volunteering based on poor management practices.  Achieving the Extension Mission through Volunteers is an online cohort course for the novice and experienced Extension professional working with volunteers to enhance and deliver Extension programs.  This course is designed to highlight best practices in volunteer development and management and to help build staff and organizational capacity around volunteer management and development regardless of the program area. 

Course Structure

During this 7-week course members participate in pre-recorded sessions, readings, activities, 3 live webinars and a video call, interact with a wide variety of resources and hear from experts. It will take participants approximately 5 hours each week to complete the course.


The course is taught in six modules over six weeks and includes three live webinars.

Week 1
Introduction: Explore the course site and join discussions with cohort members
Week 2 
Module 1: Volunteerism in Extension
Module 2: Trends and Motivations
Week 3
Module 3: Identifying and Recruiting Volunteers
Week 4
Work week: Catch up on and dive deeper into the content we've covered up to now.
Week 5
Module 4: Selecting and Matching Volunteers
Week 6
Module 5: Supporting Volunteers
Week 7
Module 6: Communicating Public Value


  • Increase volunteer management competencies.
  • Build knowledge and skills related to identifying, recruiting, selecting, and supporting volunteers.
  • Understand their own volunteer development approach, the organization’s philosophy related to volunteerism and current trends in volunteerism.

Technical Requirements

Participants must have:

  • High-speed Internet
  • Current version of Flash Player
  • Mozilla Firefox Online Browser (to view course site)
  • Computer Speakers

Optional:  webcam and mic

Cancellation policy

No refunds will be issued for cancellations after registration closes, unless we can fill your slot. Cancellations prior to close of registration will be fully refunded. If you have questions or need to cancel your registration, please call 612-624-1999.


  • Course content questions - Kari Robideau, robideau@umn.edu, 218-236-2013
  • Registration questions - Colleen Byrne, byrne015@umn.edu, 612-624-1999
  • Questions regarding technical issues - UM Technology Help, help@umn.edu, 612-301-4357

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in

Section Title
Achieving the Extension Mission through Volunteers
Online, instructor led
Jan 25, 2021 to Mar 14, 2021
Delivery Options
Instructor Led Online  
Course Fee(s)
Achieve the Ext Mission non-credit $250.00
Section Details

Time commitment

Throughout this course, participants can expect to spend an average of 4-6 hours/week.  Past online participants report that they wish they had planned ahead and designated more time to devote to the course. Expect to set aside time throughout each week to participate in pre-recorded presentations, readings, live webinars, and forum discussions to have the full professional development experience.

2021 Schedule

January 25 - March 14, 2020 
Week 1 - Introductory week: January 25 - 31
Week 2 - Modules 1 & 2:  February 1 - 7
Week 3 - Module 3:  February 8 - 14
Week 4 - February 15 - 21 - Work Week: Dive deeper and/or catch up.
Week 5 - Module 4:  February 22 - 28
Week 6 - Module 5:  March 1 - 7
Week 7 - Module 6:  March 8 - 14

(Course will be open to participants through the end of March.)

Synchronized activities: Live video call and webinars

Although the majority of the content in the course can be completed on your own time, there are three live webinars and one video call. We encourage you to put those dates and times on your calendar now so you can participate in these with your cohort.  Note:  All webinars are recorded to view later in case you need to miss one.


In order to accommodate most participants' schedules, each of the three webinars will be offered live on two different dates. You may attend one or the other--you need not attend both dates. Each webinar takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Central Standard Time.

    Thursday, February 4 or Friday, February 5
    Thursday, March 4 or Friday, March 5
    Thursday, March 11 or Friday, March 12

Attendance in person is strongly recommended, but all webinars will be recorded, in case you need to miss one.

Video call

February 17, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. (Central Time)

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