Contributed by Nikki Russell
The VAN Reading, Resource and Leadership Corner: a bi-monthly post to the VAN blog that will keep you up-to-date on the latest thinking, online and local resources, and best or promising practice relevant to effective volunteer engagement.
Interested in exploring your volunteer program’s impact? Join your peersfor the next Professional Gathering on Wednesday, May 23: 11:30-1:00pm at World Association for Children and Parents in Renton, WA. Clickhere for directions. The topic: Evaluating our Program’s Impact.
To warm up for the discussion, take a sneak peek at Measuring the Difference that Volunteers Make: A Guideboook to Outcome Evaluation for Volunteer Program Managers. The Guidebook was published in 1997, but it is still relevant today. The focus is outcomes measurement- how to we measure the results of our volunteer efforts?
A lot of focus has been placed on finding the value of volunteer time as a means to valuing the contribution of volunteers. Linda Graff, author of BEST OF ALL: The Quick Reference Guide To Effective Volunteer Involvement, cautions against relying on the wage replacement strategy to assess the value of a volunteer’s time in her article: A Note on Assessing Value (excerpted from her BEST OF ALL: The Quick Reference Guide To Effective Volunteer Involvement, Linda L. Graff, Linda Graff and Associates Inc., 2005, Pages 20-22). Graff asks,’what is the value of’:
- a volunteer who spends time at the bedside of a dying child?
- 400 citizens who turn out to find a little girl lost in the swamp (and they are successful!)?
- the work of a group of anglers and environmentalists collaborating to clean up a stream bed, preserve the watershed, rehabilitate the sport fishery, and thereby revive the previously failing tourist industry in the surrounding area?
- the adult literacy movement?
- teaching one student to read?
- mentoring a “high risk” child who then does not join a gang or get pregnant at the age of 14?
- a volunteer fire department?
Can you assign a monetary value to any of the above? Not really. But you can measure results and impact of these activities. Start thinking in terms of ‘desired results’. What is the desired result of the volunteer activity? How can you measure the results?
How do you measure the impact of your volunteer program?
Local Trainings and Workshops:
United Way of King County presents:
Effective Volunteer Management 101, a Course for Volunteer Management Professionals
June 12 & 26, 2012, 9:00am-4:30pm
Details and Registration
Have you ever assessed your own leadership competencies? Are you aware of the leadership qualities required to successfully engage volunteers? Take a look at the mini-leadership assessment on Volunteer Today: Leading Volunteers. It’s never too late to begin enhancing your leadership qualities.