Each nonprofit has different volunteer needs depending on your organization and the community that you serve. Rural volunteering has a unique set of challenges and advantages.
- Put your organization in a position to attract the best volunteers for your nonprofit needs.
- Program evaluation will result in your nonprofit looking more professional and successful which will attract quality volunteers.
- Part of an evaluation is getting feedback from volunteers. You might receive valuable information from them. What do they like? What do they think would be helpful?
- Determine whether you are accomplishing your goals.
- It also helps to get everyone on the same page in your organization regarding goals and direction your organization is pursuing.
- First of all, do you have the time and the people to evaluate your volunteer program? If not, do you know someone or some organization who can help?
- If you’re a small organization are there a couple of people who can work on this? If a larger nonprofit, can you gather a small committee?
- Do you have a volunteer who might be helpful assisting with your evaluation? The perspective from a volunteer may be helpful.
- Set a firm and realistic time frame for yourself so your evaluation project doesn’t go on indefinitely.
- How many volunteers do you have? Do you need more people to cover all the bases?
- What types of volunteer jobs do you have? Are there different levels of responsibility?
- In addition to in-person work, can any tasks/jobs be done remotely?
- Where and how do they spend their time and for how many hours (a week or a month)?
- Is the current volunteer force meeting your needs? Are there skills that you’re missing?
- Is there volunteer training? Do you have volunteer meetings?
- Do you try to acknowledge the work your volunteers do with some type of recognition?
- How do you communicate with your volunteers? Via email or text? Do you ever have volunteer meetings?
- Do you have a volunteer program budget? Is your budget appropriate for the need?
- Click here for a Volunteer Management Inventory from the Rural Volunteerism Initiative that might prove helpful.
- How do volunteers feel about the work they’re doing? How do they feel about your organization?
- Do they understand their jobs? Do you provide guidance for tasks?
- Would they recommend volunteering for your organization to their friends?
- Do they feel like their skills match the jobs they’re doing?
- 501 Commons has a good assessment tool that also includes a volunteer survey. You can check it out here under “Assess Your Organization’s Readiness”.
- Include your tracking of volunteer time in your evaluation. If you haven’t done that, check out our section on Volunteer Tracking. Tracking helps you figure out where your volunteer time is being spent.
- Evaluate your volunteer surveys and your volunteer force.
- Do some goals (short term or long term) need to be redefined or refocused?
- Do you need to re-assess some of the community services that you provide?
- Read about the positive impacts of Volunteer Program Evaluation from Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. Click here for the article. It also provides next steps for using your information to improve volunteer recruiting, retention and recognition.
Rural Volunteerism Initiative Toolkit: https://ruralvolunteer.org/tools/
501 Commons Volunteer Management Guide – it provides links to volunteer planning, policy, position descriptions, recruiting and much more…: https://www.501commons.org/resources/tools-and-best-practices/volunteer-management
ASU Lodestar’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation Articles:
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