When it comes to managing a nonprofit, your organization must track and regulate an infinite number of things. Creating and maintaining a volunteer schedule, training new volunteers, ensuring your nonprofit has enough resources, and more can create an overwhelming mountain of responsibilities. With all of this going on, how can any nonprofit reasonably expect to collect and interpret volunteer impact data?
Fortunately, recent developments in technology have made collecting and analyzing volunteer impact data more straightforward than ever. Investing a small amount of time into gathering volunteer impact data can also have a tremendous effect on your organization in return. Showing that your volunteers make a meaningful impact on the community can serve as a persuasive reason for new volunteers to join your organization or potential donors to pull the trigger and give money or items to your nonprofit. Let's take a more in-depth look at what volunteer impact is, how you can measure it, and how you can increase it within your nonprofit.
What is Volunteer Impact?
Volunteer impact is a way to measure the effect that your volunteers have on the community your nonprofit serves. Some volunteers dedicate their free time to volunteering at a nonprofit but are left wondering if their efforts actually made a meaningful difference in their community. Volunteer impact data helps to put numerical values on the effectiveness of your volunteers' time and efforts, and it shows the value of the work your volunteers put in on a regular basis.
How Can I Measure Volunteer Impact?
There are several ways to measure volunteer impact that can show the world how much good your organization and its volunteers do for its community. Some key volunteer impact measurements can include qualitative, quantitative, and cause impact.
Qualitative data - is all about the quality of volunteer impact. Did your volunteers enjoy their experience, and did they feel they actually made a meaningful impact on the community? How do your volunteers perceive your organization? Perhaps the most efficient way to obtain this type of data to answer these questions is with a short survey given to volunteers periodically.
Quantitative data - is more about the numerical impact your volunteers or donors made. Quantitative data can tell you how many volunteers worked with your organization, how many total hours were volunteered, the monetary value of those hours (volunteer work is estimated to be worth $24/hour), and more. Data management software, like InitLive, make quantitative data easy to collect and analyze.
Cause impact - measures whatever effect your organization is trying to make. If your organization's purpose is to help adults learn valuable job skills, how many adults completed one of your classes and gained a new skill? If your organization serves hot meals to families in need, how many meals were served or how many people were fed? Cause impact may be the most important data you can have, as it can be the most interesting data for new volunteers or potential donors.
How Can I Increase Volunteer Impact?
Volunteers are valuable assets to any nonprofit, but how can you increase their impact during each shift? One of the most effective ways an organization can increase overall volunteer impact is by decreasing their volunteers' turnover rate. Constantly training new recruits can not only deplete your organization's resources, but it can also make your volunteers less effective as a whole. Some ways to increase engagement and decrease turnover rates include:
- Providing comprehensive training and support
- Showing appreciation to your volunteers frequently
- Checking in with volunteers to ensure they have meaningful experiences
- Creating an efficient volunteer sign-up process
- Maintaining open communication among staff and volunteers
Creating a seamless volunteer process by using volunteer management software is also key in accelerating your volunteers' impact. InitLive's Volunteer Management System allows your volunteers to schedule themselves online, check-in for shifts, and have instant two-way communication with staff members while volunteering, allowing them to focus on the tasks at hand. InitLive's software can also quickly and effectively collect and analyze volunteer data, making it much easier for your organization to discover the impact your volunteers have on the surrounding community.