Evaluating the Volunteer Program: Contexts and Models
Volunteer administrators and their host organizations need to be concerned about evaluating volunteer programs to satisfy the information needs of various constituencies. These constituencies or so-called “stakeholders” are persons or groups who have a stake in, or a claim on, the program, whether perceived or actual. For example, one of the most prominent stakeholders, funders are no longer content merely with an organization having volunteers onboard but wish to know the results or “outcomes” or even the long-term “impact” of their involvement. Another important set of stakeholders, board members are interested in whether all organizational resources, including volunteers, have been put to good, if not “best,” use. Similarly, a third stakeholder group, organizational leadership, is eager to derive the most benefit from the volunteer program. For their part, volunteers may derive motivation from learning about the value of their efforts and the results they help to bring about for organizations and their clients. Satisfying all of these stakeholders through the same evaluation of the volunteer program is not easy, and perhaps not even feasible. Accordingly, in this chapter we present an evaluation framework for assisting the volunteer resource manager with understanding and conducting different types of evaluation based on stakeholder involvement.