News

A Guide to Volunteer Program Evaluation & Volunteer Satisfaction

With the end of the year fast approaching, now is a good time to think about evaluating your volunteer program. As many Area Agencies on Aging can attest, volunteers are invaluable and strategic resources that are key to the success of many AAA programs. In fact, a volunteer's level of engagement and satisfaction should be viewed as vital to the strength of the agency's program. Conducting an evaluation will help your agency better understand the roles volunteers plan and can help your AAA its story while building future support. If your AAA is thinking about revamping its  volunteer program, evaluation and volunteer satisfaction are key! 

A thorough evaluation of your AAA's volunteer program will enable your organization to gain insight into what areas are working, what areas need improvement and how this information can be used in order to enhance your program's effectiveness at all levels. Here are two ways to think about evaluation.

Process evaluation looks at things like volunteer satisfaction, effectiveness of the volunteer in his or her role and the level and quality of support they receive that contributes to their recruitment, retention and ability to do the job.

A great tool to gauge the satisfaction of your AAA's volunteers is through a volunteer survey. The survey should be simple, easy to complete and successfully measure the volunteer's perspective on topics related to:
  • Level of satisfaction
  • Significance of work
  • Appreciation
  • Effectiveness of program management
Some AAAs—like the Atlanta Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging—are using their surveys to examine the health benefits of volunteering. Whatever the questions asked, the results of your survey will help your AAA determine areas for improvement. For example, feedback from a survey produced by the Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging prompted the agency to shorten its application process, extend recruitment efforts to friends and family of volunteers, and establish innovative ways to recognize volunteers. Take a look at examples of Volunteer Satisfaction Surveys from the Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging and the Atlanta Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging.

Outcome evaluation determines the impact of the program as it relates to the mission of your program or agency. For example, your outcome evaluation may examine to what extent volunteers contribute to older adults' health and independence in your community.

Begin by asking: What is the purpose of the evaluation? How will the information be used? Establish indicators related to the impact of your volunteer program that you can track and analyze over time. Once your program's outcome objective has been identified, it will be easier to ask questions that will help you measure the impact and the factors that contribute to it.

For questions about evaluating your volunteer program, contact Peter Lane, director of n4a's Aging Network Volunteer Resource Center.

 

Contributors