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Volunteer Program Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What will be on the survey?
A: This survey contains questions about the volunteer’s feelings, reactions to organizational processes, behaviors, demographics, etc. Using these data, we can inform you of any volunteer issues.

Q: Who should take it?
A: You should distribute this survey to all of your volunteers; however, if you are only interested in a particular subset of volunteers, you can distribute it to them. This method will tell you less about your volunteer program as a whole, but more about that particular group of volunteers.

Q: Why should I, as a volunteer coordinator, use it?
A: As a volunteer coordinator, you should use this survey because it will tell you about the makeup of your volunteer base, including where you’re getting your volunteers, how effective are your recruiting methods, and what is the condition of your staff-volunteer interaction. We at VPA-UNO understand that volunteer coordinators are challenged for time and resources, and we view this diagnostic tool as a method by which we can provide you an overall volunteer program assessment with minimal legwork on your part.

Q: What we will do with the data?
A: We will provide a report based on the data generated through the survey. In addition, we will likely use the data to conduct scientific research; however, we will remove any identities (personal and organizational) from the data before using the data for research presentations and publications. All research will fall under Institutional Review Board ethical guidelines. We take your privacy (and your right not to be studied) very seriously.

Q: What if I don’t have the time to go through with the process? I am interested, but I have a tight schedule.
A: We are sensitive to the needs of our clients, and are able to work around any schedule. We can also change the dates that steps occur if need be. It is important to discuss any time constraints or possible difficulties at the beginning of the VPA process to allow the consultant to adjust for these issues.

Q: How often can my organization take the survey?
A: We recommend doing a follow-up survey six months to a year after the original start date to measure the effectiveness of the survey. We also like to measure how effective our recommendations have been at improving your organization.

Q: What's in it for UNO?
A: The VPA program helps UNO reach its goals of supporting the academic, career, and personal goals of all the university’s students; fostering academic excellence within the university; and being recognized as a university with a high degree of community engagement. 

Q: How were we selected for the VPA process?
A: We select our clients based on the size of the organization and the perceived value of VPA for the program. 

Q: How can we get our volunteers to fill out the survey (i.e., increase the response rate)?
A: Your volunteer response rate will depend greatly upon you!  Here are some things you can do to improve response rate:

  • Review and audit your volunteer contact database
  • Pre-notify volunteers (e.g., email blast, newsletter item, town-hall meeting, etc.) – prenotification is the single best strategy for improving response rate
  • Send a reminder halfway through survey collection
  • Communicate the value and importance of the survey

If you are looking for specific ways of incentivizing survey response, think about what has worked for your volunteer group in the past.  Because the survey is anonymous, we have no way of tracking who has taken the survey.  Thus, you may want to set an overall group goal with a reward such as a pizza party.  Or, you could have an inter-unit competition that is based on the honor system.

Q: What can I do for volunteers that are not comfortable using a computer?
A: We can provide you with a version of the survey that can be printed and provided to those volunteers that are not comfortable using a computer.  Then, you can designate a volunteer to enter any hard copy surveys via the online link.