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Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Tom Cannavo |

The Impact of a Volunteer

Tom Cannavo Thanking Volunteers

Tom Cannavo Thanking Volunteers

Can the impact a volunteer has on their community be quantified? It would definitely be a difficult task but VolunteerMatch and volunteer technology review firm Software Advice got together to do just that.

It was reassuring to see that over half of the 2735 organizations measure or attempt to measure how much of an impact their volunteers and their organization is having. The organizations surveyed range from large organizations with over 5,000  volunteers to small organizations with 1 – 10 volunteers. the majority of these organizations collect data to find better ways to serve their community.

For those organizations that do not measure the impact their organization has the majority cited a lack of time or resources. 87% of organizations that did not measure their impact didn’t do so because of a lack of resources, skill, or time. This shows a desire on behalf of the non-profits to measure and quantify impact but an inability to do so.

But how is impact quantified? Of the measuring organizations, the majority use the value of the hours worked by their volunteers. This is usually done by multiplying the average national volunteer rate by the number of hours worked. This metric, along with the amount of funds raised, were the most quantitative while other popular metrics were testimonials and increased issue awareness.

Collection of data methodologies differed greatly. Most popular were direct observation by program directors, surveys of volunteers, and surveys of beneficiaries. Many of these organizations thought these methods were highly effective.

The benefits for these organizations of measuring their impact is increased donations. 17% of the organizations that responded said that donor’s like to see these statistics and having them positively affects donations. And many have found that it helps in recruitment and retention because people like to know they positively affected the world.

Measuring the positive impact these volunteers are having is the first step in improving that impact. This opens up a volunteer position for a specialist in these matters.