HandsOn University Online

Click on the “Try Our First Course FREE” button below to take the Skills-based Volunteering Course!

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Leveraging the expertise of University of Phoenix in providing distance learning strategies to students around the world, HandsOn Network is taking its signature training and technical assistance programming  - HandsOn University - into a virtual environment. HandsOn University is committed to helping develop a nation of inspired and driven volunteer leaders. By providing the latest in best practice resources in an innovative online environment, and through partnership with the University of Phoenix, HandsOn University looks to create infrastructure to help people self organize and create change in their communities.


HandsOn University Online will be a web-based learning community for individuals, nonprofit and government organizations, and businesses seeking to improve their capacity to effectively engage others in service.  HandsOn University Online will provide 30 e-learning courses for three core audiences:

Volunteer Leaders: Volunteers who lead projects or service activities will be able to work towards earning certification. The Volunteer Leadership Certificate Program includes studies in the core areas of volunteer recruitment, project development, large scale project management and leading volunteers in reflection.

Nonprofit and Government Organizations:  Staff of nonprofit and government organizations whose key function is managing the organizations’ volunteer resources will be able to acquire advanced training and certification.  For managers of volunteers in nonprofit/government agencies, these courses will align with the CVA (Certification in Volunteer Administration) core competencies.

Businesses:  Employee Volunteer Program managers seeking to improve the impact, scale, and effectiveness of their company’s volunteer programming will be offered learning opportunities and ongoing training to help them to achieve these goals. 

The Get HandsOn! Campaign Connection:

Points of Light Institute and University of Phoenix will provide training to 25,000 individual volunteer leaders in 2010 -2011. We will provide an opportunity for leaders of volunteers to receive a certificate demonstrating that they have a specific skill set required to lead volunteers in service. The certificate will make it possible for volunteer leaders to move between organizations and set a sector-wide standard for the competencies of volunteer leaders.

Course Catalog

HandsOn University and University of Phoenix are excited to provide 30 e-learning courses for nonprofits, businesses, and individual volunteers. During June and July, HandsOn University will be focused on soliciting input from the field for the following purposes:

  1. To improve the course content, delivery, and learner experience; and
  2. To determine topics for future courses.

Your feedback is needed and encouraged. Please complete the first of our series of courses and tell us what you think.

Skills-based Volunteering 101 (approx. 45 min.)

This interactive, online training course exposes participants to the principles of skills-based volunteering.  The course begins by teaching participants about skills-based volunteering and its benefits and challenges. Participants can then choose which area of specific volunteering to focus their studies on: individual, business, or nonprofit. The course then concludes with implementation and management of a skills-based volunteering program. This course provides participants with real examples, tips, and easy-to-follow steps for getting involved in the community, as well as for getting volunteers involved in an organization*.  

*Note: Once you begin this training you will be unable to save your progress and return at a later time.  

Please take a few moments to complete a short survey to help us determine topics for future courses. HandsOn University believes it is vital that the online course offerings meet the needs of the sector. Your feedback is valuable!



Volunteer Leader Certificate

The Volunteer Leadership Certificate Program

Coming Soon!

This interactive online program introduces students to the skills and principles of volunteer leadership. The program includes eight courses, followed by an exam, and a practicum where participants demonstrate their ability to apply newly-found volunteer leadership skills. Successful completion of the online program and the practicum results in a HandsOn Network Volunteer Leader Certificate.

The Coursework:

Course 101: Introduction to Volunteer Leadership (0.5 hr)

In this course you will be introduced to volunteer leadership and the required skills of those leaders. The information in this course provides a definition of volunteer leader, an explanation of their importance and an overview of the required skills.

Course 102: Project Planning (1.5 hr)

In this course you will learn how to identify a project that aligns with your personal passion while meeting community needs, develop and finalize a detailed project plan, and secure project resources by leveraging community assets.Prerequisite: Course 101.

Course 103: Project Management (2.0 hr)

Learn the steps involved in onsite project implementation and management. Successful projects exhibit a good balance between managing logistics, time and people. The information in this course provides tools to effectively balance these three elements in order to implement a successful, productive volunteer project. Prerequisite: Course 102.

Practicum 104 - You will identify a need in your community and lead a volunteer project to meet that need. You will use the skills, tools and resources provided in your coursework. After leading this project you will build a Volunteer Leader Portfolio that tells the story of your volunteer leader experience. For your portfolio you will submit the following:

  1. personal service philosophy statement describing your commitment to service. This statement should be 100 to 250 words;
  2. service resume outlining your service experiences including your role as a volunteer leader; and
  3. project journal describing your experience and its alignment with elements of the coursework. You are encouraged to be creative and use video, pictures, and other non-traditional media to document your volunteer leadership experience.

Participants have 30 days to submit their Volunteer Leader Portfolio. HandsOn University will review submissions and distribute certificates once every quarter.
Prerequisite: Courses 101-103.

The Get HandsOn! Campaign Connection:

Points of Light Institute and University of Phoenix will provide training to 25,000 individual volunteer leaders in 2010 -2011. We will provide an opportunity for leaders of volunteers to receive a certificate demonstrating that they have a specific skill set required to lead volunteers in service. The certificate will make it possible for volunteer leaders to move between organizations and set a sector-wide standard for the competencies of volunteer leaders.


Thanks to our sponsor - Corporation for National and Community Service,  the following webinars for FREE!

Recent Webinars

1. Mobilizing Nonprofit Partners for MLK 2011

Presenter: Todd Bernstein, President of Global Citizenand Director of MLK 365 & Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service

Description: Fifteen years ago, the first King Day of Service in the nation began in Philadelphia with 1,000 participants. In 2010, the Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service was once again the largest King Day event in the nation with an increase of 5,000 volunteers and 200 projects from the previous year, totaling a national record of 70,000 volunteers, who served in some 1,100 service projects. Some 600,000 volunteers have served in this project since 1996.  What’s the secret? Partnerships! Come learn from the expert, who made it all happen and walk away with strategies to create partnerships resulting in increased mobilization!

Download the recording.

Download the handouts.

2. The Road to MLK Day

Presenters:Kimberly Boyd, Vice President of Mobilization and Impact and Khyati Desai, Civic Engagement Manager

Description: Is your company interested in making a real impact for the upcoming observance of MLK Day?  Do you want to include your Employee Volunteer Program in this National Day of Service?  Join us for the Road to 2011 MLK Day.

Download the recording.

3. How Skills-based Volunteers can Support Your MLK Day Efforts

Presenter: Veronica ParagesDirector of Skills-based Volunteering and Linda Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin

Description: Is MLK day becoming a bigger event every year for your organization? Are you trying to use multimedia before, during and after the event? Do you have all the skills in your organization to get the expected results?Overview:  Using their professional competences, volunteers are now helping nonprofit entities by delivering consulting services for free – so why not take this opportunity to get some support for the development, communication, and the implementation of your MLK day of service.

Download the recording.

Download the handouts.

4. MLK 2011 Signature Civic Dialogue Events -Supper and Cinema

Presenters: Khyati Desai, Civic Engagement Manager

Description:Interested in adding some additional flavor to your MLK Day of Service offerings? Why not make it a weekend event? Saturday night at the Community Cinema, Sunday host a Dr. King Supper and Monday engage in a Day of Service. HandsOn Network has partnered with Independent Lens and two collegiate organizations to help bring this vision to life. Come learn how to leverage these activities to expand your reach and increase the excitement around MLK Day 2011. Tools and resources available. 

Download the recording.

5. How to Use Social Media for MLK 2011 (#MLKDAY)

Presenter: Jessica Kirkwood, Vice President of Social Media

Description: Have you thought about how to use social media to build   awareness and excitement in order to inspire and mobilize people to activate on MLK Day of Service 2011? Come hear about tools and strategies you can use to help inspire your constituents on this powerful day of service. Walk away with sample key messages and timelines to guide your communication.

Download the recording.

Download the handouts.

Campaign Partners