Plan for Increased Volunteer Engagement by Measuring Impact

Measuring Volunteer Impact; It's impactful!

Redbird’s Volunteer Engagement Planning Process

Recently, Redbird has been working on a volunteer engagement plan with one of our partners, The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s BC Branch. Volunteer engagement is one of our favourite kinds of project because there is so much positive energy already there to work with and the results are so gratifying. As you can see in the report below, organizations that aren’t measuring volunteer impact, or aren’t satisfied with their measurement, struggle over the lack of time, resources and know-how to do just that. But measurement can have a great impact on your volunteer engagement, and thus on your organizational goals. Working with an agency like Redbird to develop a volunteer engagement plan can give you the tools to follow a plan and measure the results without the headache of having to figure it out yourself.

At The Kidney Foundation volunteers are spread out across the province and they needed a way to communicate with each other and to recognize the dedicated community of kidney advocates they were a part of: the BC Kidney Squad. So we proposed and designed a proprietary social intranet that we call an Alula site. Think of an Alula site as the BC Kidney Squad’s own social network where volunteers, board members and staff can share their ideas, ask questions and collaborate to create a library of useful resources for everyone. It’s as easy to use as Facebook and is a space where they can interact socially with other volunteers across BC, supporting each other and nurturing the passion that first brought them to The Kidney Foundation.

Volunteer Impact Report and Infographic

We recently came across a report on volunteer impact measurement in small human services non-profits developed by Software Advice, in partnership with VolunteerMatch. Measurement is an oft-touted, though rarely consistently undertaken, key to success in any project. Knowing the results of your volunteer management program can help you improve it through better retention and recruitment, improved outcomes and funding, and many other benefits.

As nonprofits look to increase donations, one of the strongest ways to do that is through showing impact. In a 2014 study that we conducted, 60% of donors wanted proof of impact before they made a second donation. Being able to show how your volunteers’ work has helped the organization in reaching their goals is one way to motivate donors to keep supporting you.  
- Janna Finch, nonprofit researcher at Software Advice

Measuring ROI often scares people off, especially if they are already taxed for resources and time, but the fact is that there are many ways you are probably already measuring volunteer impact and your organization just hasn’t formalized the process.

One of the things that stood out was the number of respondents who said that their organization doesn’t measure volunteer impact because their leaders don’t care. It was about 2% of responses, but to hear that was surprising. Some don’t measure because they lack resources, which is understandable. But for those who don’t care, I would like to be able to dig deeper into why. Measuring impact can prompt positive changes in program outcomes and donations, so it is definitely a worthwhile initiative for nonprofits. 
- Janna Finch, nonprofit researcher at Software Advice

Counting volunteer hours, sharing qualitative accounts of volunteers that have made a difference, and surveys to volunteers themselves or the beneficiaries of their work, are all great ways to measure the impact of your volunteer programs. Integrating these tasks into a regular format for program evaluation can help you see the patterns in your volunteer programming that are working well or that need tweaks.

Check out this great Volunteer Impact Report for more information and get in touch with us to discuss how Redbird can help you formulate a winning volunteer engagement plan.