Thursday, September 11, 2008

Evaluation Series: Volunteer Management

You can incorporate evaluation into your work with volunteers in several ways. You can use evaluation to determine the needs of an organization so that you can recruit and appropriately assign volunteers. When recruiting you can use surveys to determine the skills volunteers have. Similar to Human Resources work, you can use evaluation to track a volunteers’ effectiveness, performance and to estimate the value of their volunteer time.

There are many excellent resources online for best practices in volunteer management. This is a tool for the eight steps of volunteer management and describes each step (including the needs assessment and evaluation. Here is a thorough introduction to volunteer management. If you would like to evaluate the effectiveness of your volunteer program, here is a guide on program evaluation 101.

The final post in this week's evaluation series is: Evaluation Series: Fundraising. The goal of this week's evaluation series is to highlight how evaluation can play a role in your job and to provide resources to accomplish incorporating evaluation in your organization.


edpsy570jel said...

Thank you for the resources you posted...they are very informative. Volunteer management is key to the effectiveness of a program and, therefore, evaluation of the volunteer component is imperative. The resources you listed provide a solid foundation for understanding the depth and breadth of volunteer management in order to conduct a complete evaluation.

Nonprofit SOS said...


Thank you for the kind comment. The key to helping nonprofit organizations and staff utilize evaluation in meaningful ways is providing easy, accesible resources to assist them.

-Kristen said...

How do we incorporate volunteer evaluations without current and potential volunteers feeling that we do not value their contributions?

Nonprofit SOS said...


By volunteer evaluations, I am going to assume you mean evaluating the work of volunteers- if this assumption is inaccurate, please let me know.

Evaluating the work of volunteers can be a difficult task. Sometimes it can be offensive to volunteers- especially board members (which will be a whole other posting on Monday). For just general volunteers, the key is the approach. You can't come at it from the angle that you want to make sure they are doing their job. This is where standardization is key. If a nonprofit organization does not currently evaluate volunteers ever, then the best way to start is determine which volunteers they will be evaluating (perhaps only those that help 10 hours a month or more), and then announce to all of those volunteers that they will be starting an evaluation process.

The organization should say something like: "We want to make sure you are enjoying your volunteer position and it continues to be a good fit, so we are going to start meeting with all of our fantastic volunteers that work more than 10 hours per month, every 6 months to check in and make sure things are going well." This "evaluation/check-in" should not just be to make sure they are doing their job- but to make sure the organization is fulfilling their commitment to the volunteer as well and to provide an opportunity to the volunteer to provide valuable feedback and insights about their volunteer experience.

I hope this answers your question, let me know if you need me to elaborate further on anything!