VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


V.T. readers ask questions about volunteer management and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.

Send questions to cpirtle@compuserve.com
~ April 2001 Questions ~
  • Volunteer Program Evaluation
  • Recruiting Via E-Mail
  • Videotapes on Volunteer Management



Dear Connie:
I am looking into doing a program evaluation for each of the ongoing projects I deal with (6 programs). However, I have found few non-profits in my area that have done an evaluation. Do you have any suggestions on finding sample evaluation forms? Do you have any advice on the steps I should take in developing the evaluation form and administering the evaluation? My goal is to make the evaluations a regular process so I am not trying to get all my questions answered in one evaluation. Thank you for your assistance!

Shannah at Community Food Bank

Dear Shannah:
You're in good company this month! I've been asked several times recently about volunteer program evaluation techniques . . . maybe it's the springtime influence! Here are two good Internet resources for you to check out:

* CyberVPM -- click on "Basic Program Management," and then click on "Sections." Scroll down to "Program Evaluation" for a good article by Mary Merrill, a conversation from the CyberVPM listserv, and more.

* Energize, Inc. -- in the book catalog you'll find an excellent book by Steve McCurley and Sue Vineyard, "Measuring Up: Assessment Tools for Volunteer Programs." ($17.95) It contains nearly 70 tools to help you evaluate your plans, program, organization, the people involved and even yourself. Ready to copy and use tools include: Assessing Agency Readiness for Volunteers; Checklist Prior to Recruitment; Assessing Motivations: Matching People and Work; Placement Checklist; Training Design Worksheet; Assessing Volunteer Recognition; Exit Interview Questionnaire; Assessing Public Image. Other key subjects include diagnosing organization norms, the potential for successful change and for fundraising success, hidden problems, meetings, climate health, responsibilities, job stress and much more.

Some general considerations, courtesy of the spring newsletter from the American Association of Museum Volunteers, include:

* Deadlines -- Do you need the information for a specific date, such as a board meeting or your yearly budget review? A tight timeline may influence the scope of your evaluation, causing you to exclude certain questions or concerns.

* People Power -- Who is available to work on the evaluation, and how much time do they have available? Do you need to allot time for training?

* Money -- What funds have been allocated for evaluation of the volunteer program? Is there money to pay for printing questionnaires, postage or other commodities you may want to build into your plan?

* Once you've completed the evaluation, be sure to Share the Celebration! Focusing on the positive, distribute your findings -- a record of achieved success and opportunities for growth -- to those you identified at the beginning of the evaluation process as end users and to other key decision makers in and outside of your organization. Maximize your investment in your evaluation by communication in a variety of methods: a written report; a videotape; an exhibit comprised of photos, charts, and other visuals; media releases; Internet postings; or an article in your newsletter. Remember to communicate your findings to the respondents who participated in the evaluation. No only is this courteous, but it helps to ensure their cooperation in the future work. Turn the evaluation into a volunteer recognition celebration. Celebrate the high points of your findings. Keeping a positive perspective on all stages, including the end steps, of the evaluation process ensures a program's future growth and success.

Dear Connie:
I am the coordinator for a mentoring program in a local college. Many students on my campus seem to be respond more to volunteering announcements/recruiting through email. If you could send me examples or direct me to a website that exemplifies an effective email to increase volunteering on my campus I would really appreciate it.



Dear Elsabeth:

Unfortunately I can't refer you to any specific examples, but I can give you a website to check out ­ Virtual Volunteering Project at http://www.serviceleader.org/vv. While you don't appear to be utilizing volunteers "virtually," there's good information on this site about communicating with volunteers using email. For instance, in the FAQ section there's a question/answer about using email as a recruiting tool. Also, in the Resources for Agencies section, you'll find an in-depth article from Susan Ellis about effective email techniques. Be sure to read about virtual mentoring on this site. You may want to incorporate a few virtual opportunities into your program too! Also, The National Mentoring Partnership at http://www.mentoring.org has information that you may find useful for your overall program.

Dear Connie:
I'm looking for some videotapes on volunteer management. Can you give me a source?



Dear Kerry:
The University of Colorado Volunteer Management Program Video Series is a set of eight videotapes featuring Marlene Wilson, a well-known consultant on volunteerism, that explain how to start, manage, and improve volunteer programs. Two different sets are available, one for new managers and one for more experienced managers, executive directors, and other employees. Both sets are available at http://www.energizeinc.com.

Other volunteer management videotapes available at the Energize site include:

Do you have a question? Now you too can ask an expert!

Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources, has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association for Volunteer Administration.

Connie Pirtle

Strategic Nonprofit Resources

2939 Van Ness NW Street, Suite 1248

Washington, DC 20008

VOICE: 202-966-0859

FAX: 202-966-3301
Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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