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How Volunteer Value Is Communicated

How Volunteer Value Is Communicated

We hear over and over again how volunteers are indispensable to many organizations. While we have previously covered articles on different methods used to estimate a value for volunteer contributions, a new study out of New Zealand looks at how volunteer value is communicated, both internally and externally. In this issue, reviewer Laurie Mook examines how a team of researchers conducted a qualitative study of local and national medium-sized health charities, and provides some thought-provoking insights into the barriers and drivers to communicating volunteer value for these organizations. An interesting aspect of the study, Mook explains, is that the researchers interviewed the executive director, fundraising manager and manager of volunteers from each organization, providing for a more holistic look at how volunteer value is communicated. Mook also provides her insights into the practical implications of the study, encouraging readers to reflect on the implications of making volunteer contributions visible while also considering the impact of keeping them invisible.

To read the full article

Wed, 03/06/2013
Thanks for this article Laurie. Whilst it's great to see some organisations getting to grips with this issue it is saddening to hear that some people still use the excuse that "they did not have the resources or capacity to report volunteer value." In truth, what this says is not that they didn't have the time or resources but that they didn't see it as a big enough priority. That speaks volumes about their attitude to volunteers, especially as I doubt that a similar excuse is used in regard to financial donors.

Thu, 03/07/2013
It was encouraging to read that at lest some organizations are driven by "Measuring and communicating volunteer value was also essential for internally managing resources in a strategic and effective way." I don't think an organization that does not take managerial steps to spend its volunteer time as strategically and effectively as possible TRULY values the time of their volunteers the way they might claim they do.

Tue, 03/19/2013
Our organization keeps metrics for everything in the volunteer program. We track all of our volunteers and their participation in each of our projects. At any time we can tell you how many people volunteered, an in-kind donation rate, and other statistics. Really, the importance of tracking these data points is not just to have on hand, it's to share with funders, our board, our members, and to use those numbers to generate growth in our programs. Being able to say you have x number of volunteers giving an in-kind of x dollars is really a great way to go out and seek additional funding for your programs, resulting in the growth of the program and more involvement by volunteers. While we have a nice database that tracks and values all of this for us, it can even be as easy as using excel or other small free database options. There's no reason groups should not be tracking this data. It's great for all parties to see and support!