3 Tips for Evaluating Your Nonprofit Volunteer Program
Evaluating your nonprofit volunteer program starts by understanding your supporters, what empowers them to give and how your organization is enhancing their lives.
Every nonprofit wants to have a successful volunteer program that drives in new prospects and retains existing supporters. Why wouldn’t they? The value of volunteers continues to rise year over year, and organizations today are relying on volunteerism more than ever to reach their mission and goals. Most organizations would not argue that volunteers are a crucial component of success. However, many nonprofits today do not have a process in place for evaluating their volunteer program and the impact that volunteers are making toward goals. Every nonprofit should be evaluating their volunteer program in an effort to make informed decisions that determine strategic steps and growth.
Here are three tips for evaluating/reviewing your volunteer program today:
1. Start With Goals for the Program
Without goals, it is impossible to measure your volunteer program progress. Make sure that your organization has clearly defined the goals you want your program to achieve and the benchmarks (KPIs) for reaching those goals. Make sure that volunteer program goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) and outline expectations for your team and deployed strategy to reach in the future.
A few of the most common program KPIs are:
- Total number of active volunteers
- Volunteer program retention rate
- Total number of volunteer hours logged
- The monetary value of services rendered by volunteer support
- Number of people in the community served by volunteers
The KPIs that your team chooses to track and measure success based on should align with the specific goals that you outline at the conception (if possible) of your volunteer program. Not all nonprofits will be measuring and reaching for the same indicators of success.
2. Gain Feedback From Stakeholders
Once your volunteer program is running and you have KPIs in place for measuring positive growth and negative issues that could be affecting performance it is time to gain feedback from stakeholders. Your program stakeholders can provide key insights into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and overall goal attainment issues. It is easy to not see problems with a program when you are too close to it. This is why additional points of view are so important to program growth and optimization. Identify trends in the information that is provided by stakeholders, and use it to push your program further. Do not forget that your volunteers are some of the most important program stakeholders, and you can get their feedback through surveys as well as entrance and exit interviews.
3. Translate Feedback and Data Into an Action Plan
Now that you have your volunteer program performance data measured against KPIs and feedback provided from stakeholders, it is time to create an action plan. Your action plan should include new goals that are based on your findings and strategic adjustments. Again, make sure that your new goals have benchmarks and KPI’s for measuring performance.
The tips outlined above are a rinse and repeat approach to evaluating your volunteer program and adjusting goals over time.
Want to learn tips for evaluating your organization's volunteers? Download our whitepaper outlining four volunteer KPIs your organization should measure today.
Eric Burger is the director of marketing for BetterGood, an organization that creates exciting products, including VolunteerHub, that help organizations touch lives and make an impact within their communities. Eric has worked in the business-to-business software industry for eight years and has more than 12 years of experience in digital marketing.