How will you measure volunteer impact in 2024?
As we close out 2023, you probably have some view into the impact your volunteers made, including how much time they worked and other basic information to share with others in your organization. But do you really know the true impact of your volunteers? Have you set goals for 2024 using your volunteer data? Can you track what you need to reach your goals? Are you trying to get more volunteer funding?
Here are some questions that can help you measure volunteer impact:
- Did you have enough qualified and engaged volunteers?
- Did your volunteers have an impact on your program goals?
- Did your volunteer program save money for your organization? How much?
- Did you have enough funding for volunteer engagement?
- Did you see volunteers becoming strong donors?
To help answer these questions, here are eight easy ways you can demonstrate impact and focus your strategic decision-making:
- Evaluate how many hours and how many times your volunteers contributed to get a true read on engagement over their lifetime with your organization—or within specific opportunities. For example, are there volunteers contributing more time with more frequency vs. volunteers that contribute time but not that often, and are the frequent contributors more engaged year after year?
- Identify your Organization’s growth. Are you offering more opportunities and shifts than last year?
- Run a report on how many volunteers are involved in your day-to-day activities. How many of those volunteers are legacy volunteers dedicated to your important mission? Use this to demonstrate what wouldn’t be possible without your volunteers.
- Identify which reports accurately reflect your impact in the community and run those reports on a regular basis to identify important trends. Evaluate which opportunities you notice the most volunteer activity in, and consider why.
- Consider seasonal volunteer activities. Do you notice that certain opportunities or activities generate more volunteer activity than others? Take a close look at what it is about those activities that are more successful than others. Is it the type of activity? The location? The number of volunteers involved? Are there specific volunteers or staff who seem to often be involved in the more popular activities?
- Do a deep dive into your volunteer activity and see who contributed along with their latest contribution dates, as well as those who didn’t, so you can continue to recognize your most active volunteers with a thank you email highlighting their impact. Follow up and send an email with a survey to better understand why some volunteers are either not engaged or just not active.
- Translate hours of volunteer time to monetary value to show your organization leaders and funders how much money was saved. After all, your mission wouldn’t be possible without your volunteers!
- See which of your volunteers are becoming your best supporters by syncing donor management with volunteer management to see who your best “super supporters” are, and focus on engaging them.
Getting Your Volunteers’ Perspective is Good for Your Organization
Understanding the impact of your volunteers helps improve your programs, gets staff buy-in for resources, and communicates to funders, donors, and the community how your organization is making the most of your valuable volunteers.
In fact, according to the “State of Engagement” report, funders believe that feedback from volunteers and counting their hours is important to understand the contributions your volunteer makes. On top of that, funders say they’re not asked for funding to engage volunteers!
Why Time = Money
It goes beyond just counting hours. More hours doesn’t necessarily translate to more impact. Translating the hours to financial value packs a punch. The value of volunteer time has risen to $31.80 an hour, a 6.2% increase from 2021 to 2022. Combining this value and subtracting your costs for training, onboarding, and other activities to make volunteers successful lets you calculate your return on your volunteer investment.
Sharing your achievements—how volunteers helped you meet your program or event goals, and the value you received from volunteers through a financial lens—paints a compelling picture for both organizational leaders and funders alike so you can get the support you need in 2024 and beyond.