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Measuring Volunteer Impact


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Joanna Stuart's workshop session at AVM's 2016 conference.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Measuring Volunteer Impact

  3. 3. WHY MEASURE IMPACT? Learning and improving Accountability
  4. 4. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ‘IMPACT’? • The difference that volunteering makes • Distinction between the ‘work you do’ and the ‘difference it makes’ • The ‘difference you make’ includes outcomes and impact • Outcomes – changes, benefits, learning or other effects of the programme or project • Impacts - the broader or longer term effects of the programme or project
  5. 5. Source: NCVO (2015) Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit
  6. 6. Can you tell the story of your work and what it should achieve? PLANNING – UNDERSTANDING YOUR PROJECT
  7. 7. A project or programme’s story of how change happens Often presented as a map, diagram or chart with a narrative Useful for planning, communication and evaluation Emphasis on what you want to achieve rather than what you do • Starts with the needs you want to address • Changes you want to bring about • The activities you will deliver THEORY OF CHANGE
  8. 8. A BASIC TOC: NCVO CES PLANNING TRIANGLE For examples of planning triangles from Charities Evaluation Services see: indicators/example-planning-triangles.html
  9. 9. More clients get and sustain jobs Improved work experience Skills workshops Improved basic skills More appropriate behaviour at work Greater confidence Increased knowledge of job market Work placements Peer mentoring Reduction in youth unemployment regionally YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROJECT (Source: adapted from CES (2011) Making Connections: using a theory of change to develop planning and evaluation)
  10. 10. Create your own mini theory of change in three sentences: 1. Describe what you do 2. The changes you want to bring about 3. The long-term, wider change that your work contributes to Max 20 words a sentence! Share it with your neighbour. Can you help improve each others’? SUPER QUICK THEORY OF CHANGE (Source: adapted from CES (2016) Winning Hearts and Minds, NCVO Annual Conference 2016)
  11. 11. 1. Planning and strategy 2. Communication 3. Evaluation WHY IS THEORY OF CHANGE USEFUL?
  12. 12. Source: VSO (2014) VSO’s Global Theory of Change:
  13. 13. • Understand your project and what you want it to achieve • Be clear on why you want to assess impact and who it is for • Involve others  Service users  Volunteers  Staff  Other stakeholders PLANNING – KEY PRINCIPLES
  14. 14. Most commonly used methods are: • Surveys • Interviews • Focus groups But you can also use…. • Observation sheets • Records and forms (e.g. case notes, feedback forms) • Participatory and visual methods COLLECTING INFORMATION
  15. 15. - Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit – template questionnaires and topic guides support/publications - Tried and tested scales and surveys in specific areas e.g. NPC well being measure - Volunteer Investment and Value Audit - Focus groups and interviews methods/ USEFUL TOOLS
  16. 16. VIAT – volunteer questionnaire Source: NCVO (2015) Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit
  17. 17. • Mapping (relationships, service use) • Evaluation wheel • Voting/sticky dots • Choosing games • Photos/videos See: urces/evaluation-methods/ PARTICIPATORY AND VISUAL TOOLS
  18. 18. • Focus on what you need to know and choose methods which help you measure your outcomes • Capture unexpected outcomes • Choose methods appropriate for your service users/volunteers • Adapt existing tools to ensure they fit with your needs • Test your tools first • Be proportionate and prioritise - what do your service users, volunteers or organisation value most? COLLECTING INFORMATION – KEY PRINCIPLES
  19. 19. • Reports • Summary bulletin/leaflet • Case studies • Videos • Press releases • Annual reports • Social media/blog/webpages • Presentations/workshops • Funding applications COMMUNICATE AND USE YOUR FINDINGS
  20. 20. Imperial Volunteer Centre (Imperial College) • Used the Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit to identify the outcomes of volunteering for student volunteers • Adapted the toolkit questionnaire for volunteers • Communicated findings via:  Presentations to senior staff  Poster presentation at education day  Report on website  Workshop at annual conference  Short article for in-house staff magazine Churches Conservation Trust • Used the toolkit in their study of nine case study churches • 28 page glossy report - sent to all volunteers - sent to partner orgs - presented to MPs - grant applications
  21. 21. • LEARNING!!!! To help develop and improve your volunteering programme • To provide evidence of impact to existing funders • To develop funding applications and attract new funding • To raise the profile of volunteering internally and externally • To raise the profile of your organisation • To recruit volunteers HOW TO USE YOUR FINDINGS
  22. 22. • Think about the audience and what format will engage them • Make the most of stories and quotes • Be creative • Share findings with participants • Be willing to learn and act on what you find • Reflect on your approach and how you would improve it COMMUNICATE AND USE YOUR FINDINGS – KEY PRINCIPLES
  23. 23. USEFUL RESOURCES Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit support/publications NCVO CES tools on outcomes and impact NPC (developing a theory of change) Evaluation Support Scotland guides and resources Inspiring Impact NCVO training for Volunteer Managers
  24. 24. KEEP IN TOUCH! @IVRtweets
  25. 25. NCVO champions the voluntary sector and volunteer movement to create a better society. We connect, represent and support over 11,500 voluntary sector member organisations, from the smallest community groups to the largest charities. This helps our members and their millions of volunteers make the biggest difference to the causes they believe in. • Search for NCVO membership • Visit • Email 25