Track and Share Results

This section adapted from Enhancing the Volunteer Lifecycle, by Beth Steinhorn, an e-book published by Verified Volunteers.

Volunteers today are motivated by the chance to do meaningful work – work that makes a difference. Of course, measuring volunteer impact is not only valuable for volunteers. Understanding the impact of volunteer involvement can help improve programs, build staff buy-in for their engagement efforts, and communicate to funders, donors, and the larger community how the organization is stewarding its resources overall.

Most organizations continue to measure volunteer contributions simply by counting the number of hours volunteers engage. Acknowledging the dedication and commitment of volunteers can be valuable. But counting hours is limiting, at best. More hours does not necessarily translate to more impact, nor does it promote efficiency. While hours may need to be tracked for grant reporting requirements, there is value in getting beyond hours alone.


Getting from Hours to Outcomes

Sharing the impact of volunteer involvement is a compelling and vital part of making the case to funders for investing in volunteer engagement. Here are some steps and tools to shift your measurement beyond hours alone.

  • Translate hours to financial value, using resources such as the annual value of volunteer time published by the Independent Sector or Bureau of Labor Statistics’ information on comparable hourly values for related paid positions.
  • Calculate your Return on Volunteer Investment (ROVI) by considering not only the value of the volunteer talent but also the amount of time and money that the organization invests in recruiting, training, supporting, supervising, and recognizing volunteers. You can find a Return on Volunteer Investment (ROVI) calculator through Verified Volunteers.

Track the outcomes of volunteer involvement. Outcomes-based evaluation focuses on tracking and measuring the difference that volunteers make in such terms as people reached, trees planted, books distributed, improved school performance by students being tutored, health screenings conducted, legislation passed, and more. Measuring outcomes in these terms really tells the story of the vital roles that volunteers play in an organization and in the community and can truly be the tipping point in garnering funder support.