6 Evaluate

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6.EVALUATE

Evaluating volunteer engagement is key to improving your volunteer program. It is an opportunity for you to reflect on whether the position is meeting the needs of your site/program and also the expectations of the volunteer. 

It may sound like evaluation only happens at the end of the volunteer journey, but this is an ongoing aspect of healthy volunteer involvement. 

  • Feedback only works when both parties are open and honest with how they are tracking and feeling
  • You should be scheduling regular catch-ups with your volunteers, whether they are informal or formal 
    • Note: if you are requesting a formal and structured meeting, you should provide 2 weeks notice (preferably in writing) and outline the purpose of the discussion
  • Listen to your team, identify needs and do your best to respond and meet expectations. If you need support, please reach out to your VR Advisor

Resources

  • Volunteer Performance Review (coming soon) 
  • When a volunteer indicates their intention to leave your site/program, it is encouraged to conduct an exit survey.
  • Review the exit survey and determine if changes need to be made to the volunteer position, workplace dynamics/culture, your management style or other. Aim to action any changes before you recruit a new volunteer for the position. 
  • Completed exit surveys should be filed in the volunteer's secure file

Resources

  • Volunteer Exit Checklist (coming soon) 
  • Volunteer Exit Survey (coming soon) 

VR Tips: 

  • Once you have evaluated a recently vacated volunteer position, review the Position Profile to determine if changes need to be made. If you are evaluating for the first time, contact your VR Advisor to discuss ways to implement changes. 
  • If you are finding there is high turnover at your site/program, have a look at our Values Workshop which may assist with team dynamics and refocussing on the reasons volunteers have chosen to be involved. 

Corps-facing

The above Evaluate principles apply for Corps-facing roles. We encourage you to take regular opportunities to reflect on the resources of Corps ministry programs are meeting your Corps plan. Your team may have some recommendations that will help your Corps and mission run smoother - take the opportunity to include them in these discussions. 

Leaving their position:

  • Before someone steps down from their position, take the opportunity to meet with them to discuss some of the following
    • thank them for their contribution 
    • understand the reasons for stepping down and if you are required to address any issues
  • It's important to remember that when someone leaves a Corps-facing role, they may not necessarily be leaving the Corps. It's important to reaffirm boundaries 

Community-facing

Community-facing roles can be so varied, however, we have found the above Evaluate principles to fit well across many positions. Don't forget to: 

  • Have open discussions regarding their experience, as well as yours 
  • If a volunteer is having issues, others may be feeling the same, so it's important to schedule regular catch-ups with your team members 
  • When leaving, ensure they complete an exit survey or at the very minimum, have a meeting to discuss their reasons for leaving

VR Tips

  • A volunteer leaving doesn't always mean there is something wrong! Volunteers also leave because your training and support has upskilled them to find a new challenge 
  • If a volunteer has done an outstanding job, you can offer to be a referee for them in the future

Student Placement

Just like other volunteers, gaining feedback from Student Placement volunteers is vital. This provides you with the opportunity to mould and better plan your workforce and programs. It also helps the student with their own professional development. 

Resources

The results from the feedback gathered at the end of the placement from the students and the supervisors should be reviewed and analysed. Recommend improvements to the management team and education provider. In some cases, you may need to discuss results with your central administration or coordinator. 

Work for the Dole

Completing an evaluation (exit survey) is important if you want to continue to host WfD activities and improve the outcomes for future job seekers. Job seekers can provide important insights into their Work for the Dole experience as they finish the activity. The same exit checklist and exit survey used for volunteers can be used to collect WfD participant thoughts (either by interview or filling out the survey).

 

VR Tips 

  • Because WfD volunteers/participants experience significant barriers to employment, each Corps should consider the job providers obligations to provide adequate supervision including their time and energy capacity for meeting these obligations.
  • WfD Providers are keen to find strong, meaningful placements and are interested in Host Organisation observations and feedback as well as those of the job seekers. They can provide further support or recommend resources. 

 

Other Government Sponsored

Even though government-sponsored volunteers are usually involved for a fixed period, it is still important to evaluate their experience as well as the experience of the rest of your team. For the volunteers, please use the surveys above. 

Questions to ask yourself and team: 

  • Did these volunteers engage in the work in a meaningful way?
  • Would you consider engaging government-sponsored volunteers again? 
  • Were there any challenges? Are there any recommendations to make engagement smoother? 

VR Tips 

  • If you are evaluating government-sponsored volunteers for the first time, consider including your VR Advisor in your review. Together you can plan how to either continue engaging these volunteers or other options for workforce planning. 

 

Corporate

Evaluating a corporate group's experience is important for future relationships and engagement with that group. Giving a corporate group a positive experience has led to continued engagement and support.

For example, if a corporate engages with Corps for a Christmas activity and they find that activity to be meaningful, we have found that group has returned not only to support Christmas the following year but also engage in other volunteer opportunities throughout the year. 

Resource

  • Corporate Volunteer Survey
    • Note: this is a Survey Monkey form and results are centralised to VR. If you are planning to use this survey, please contact us so we can forward the responses to an email of your choosing - vrhelpdesk@salvationarmy.org.au 
    • Feedback obtained will help better grow and develop your corporate volunteer activities

Once-off & Event

It's sometimes harder to get feedback from volunteers who engage in once-off and fundraising events. We would recommend printing the following feedback form and requesting volunteers to complete before they leave their shift, or email it to them if they are volunteering offsite. 

You may find that a team debrief is more your style - which is great! Just make sure you take note of feedback and add it to your final review. 

Resource

  • Once-off & Fundraising Feedback Form (coming soon)