The most important ten minutes in a volunteer manager’s year

More respect. Higher salaries. Better technology.  It’s all possible if you add your voice to the Volunteer Management Progress Report.

Volunteer Managers, do you ever wonder if it’s just you?

Do you wonder if, in your (often) solo role as a leader of volunteers, that your struggles are not shared by your colleagues?

I’m talking about the BIG issues that you take on every day, the ones that affect your success on the job.

I’m talking about things like:

  • Recruiting enough qualified volunteers
  • Building a high-retention volunteer base
  • Increasing co-worker acceptance of volunteers

Tobi Johnson, MA, CVA and Founder of VolunteerPro, is here to assure you that you are not alone.

After having conducted the VolunteerPro Volunteer Management Progress Report survey for three consecutive years, Tobi has identified some very consistent trends in our collective experience – including difficulties with volunteer recruitment, retention, and co-worker buy-in.

“In addition to the quantitative survey questions,” Tobi explains, “we always ask an important open-ended question: ‘What’s your number one biggest challenge as a leader of volunteers?’

“By far, the prevailing response is volunteer recruitment. Engaging enough volunteers to fill needed roles is cited as a problem twice as often as any other difficulty – and it’s becoming a larger issue over time.

“We’re seeing volunteer retention cited as a growing concern, too. And volunteer acceptance by co-workers affects our overall job satisfaction.”

Why the Survey Matters

VolunteerPro Founder Tobi Johnson identifies the trends in our collective experience through the Volunteer Management Progress Report Survey.

This type of aggregated information is affirming for us ― and vital to our professional development. Volunteer management-serving organizations (think DOVIAs, volunteer centers, and trainers) tailor their professional development offerings to the priorities that surface through the survey.

The data affects our earning capacity, too.  The responses to salary questions have started to inform compensation decisions.

“I’m encouraged,”  Tobi shared, “because I’m hearing from volunteer managers who have used the salary analysis to advocate for a raise, a larger budget, or more staffing within their department.

“My goal is to keep seeing these numbers go up.”

The survey is a large-scale, annual effort to gather information from practicing volunteer managers on their common challenges, needs, and practices.  Last year, over 1,200 leaders of volunteers from 12 countries participated in the survey, making it the most comprehensive source of information available on the volunteer management experience.

This year’s survey has just launched. Tobi and her research associate, Pam Kappelides of LaTrobe University, would like to see even more participation – their goal is to receive 2,000 responses from a wide cross-section of volunteer administrators around the world.  The more responses, the better the data.

What’s New This Year

Tobii has affectionately nicknamed this year’s survey – now in its fourth year –  “The Tech Edition.”

“Some of the questions are consistent from year to year, such as the salary and demographics questions, but there are other sections that we change to explore an emerging issue in more depth.

“Last year, we too a look at diversity in our profession. This year, we’re asking questions around the use of technology in our programs.

“Technology is vital for so many reasons. We need it to connect with volunteers we don’t see. And with recruitment pressures, we’ve got to understand how to make the best use of tools like social media and email marketing.

“We also need to start using our data platforms better. There are ways to leverage our technology to strengthen relationships and track impact. I want to give us a better feel for where we stand right now with our tech maturity.”

Ultimately, Tobi sees the survey as a resource that strengthens our advocacy.

“We are part of a movement forward. It’s my hope that data from the survey gives volunteer managers the confidence to say, ‘yes, our roles are vital to meeting the needs of this organization and we deserve the respect and resources necessary for success ’  We know that volunteering is a cornerstone strategy for our nonprofits. I’m proud that at VolunteerPro we continue to help our profession to demonstrate that fact.”

On a personal note, Tobi added, “I’m a kind of a data nerd in an amazing profession. This survey is a labor of love.”

Take the 2018 Volunteer Management Progress Report

If you are actively serving in a volunteer management role (regardless of your title), take the Volunteer Management Progress Report Survey now.  It takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

As a thank-you for participating, everyone who takes the survey will have the opportunity to learn the results before the general public. At the end of the survey, you will be redirected to a registration page for this free “sneak peak” webinar to be held on January 23 at 1pm EST.

The survey closes December 7, 2018, so act quickly.

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