One of the best ways to get more members to volunteer, and to retain volunteers, is to get to know your volunteers better so you can provide them with more personalized and relevant opportunities and a better overall volunteer experience. And one of the best ways to get to know volunteers better is with a volunteer survey.
A volunteer survey is simply a questionnaire that asks individuals about their recent volunteer experience with your association. Ideally, you would send the survey shortly after they volunteer to get feedback while the experience is fresh in their minds. Then, distribute the responses across your team to provide insights that help improve the volunteer experience.
TECH TIP: You can survey volunteers and track volunteer hours using YourMembership association management software.
You might ask a variety of questions in your volunteer survey. You might also have a slightly different set of questions for each type of volunteer opportunity. But no matter what, here are four questions your association’s volunteer surveys should include:
1. What is the organization doing well?
This is a chance for volunteers to express what’s working with your organization’s volunteer program. Prompt volunteers to think about their entire volunteer experience – from sign-up and orientation to training and support – and ask what aspects were the most helpful and enjoyable.
2. What were the most challenging aspects of volunteering?
On the flip side, ask volunteers what they found most challenging about their volunteer experience. For example, did they know all they needed about the organization to perform their role? Did they understand expectations of their volunteer role? Did they have the tools, training, and support they needed to complete their volunteer opportunity? Did they feel appreciated for their work? Make sure they understand that by providing this type of candid feedback, they are helping your organization improve future volunteer opportunities.
3. What type of volunteer opportunity would they like to do, but have never been asked?
One of the findings of the ASAE research on volunteering is that 32 percent of former volunteers and 31 percent of non-volunteers said they don’t currently volunteer simply because no one asked them to. Be sure your volunteer survey asks volunteers what type of volunteer opportunities would interest them that they haven’t yet been invited to do.
4. Would you recommend volunteering to a friend?
This question is the ultimate gauge of how well your volunteer program is meeting the needs of volunteers. For volunteers who answer “yes,” the question is a subtle suggestion for them to recommend volunteering with your organization. You might even go a step further by asking them to make the recommendation today and provide them with a volunteer page link to share.
For volunteers who answer “no,” this is an opportunity to dig more deeply into why they might not have had a positive experience. Ask them to expand on what specific changes could be made to make them want to make the recommendation. Consider asking if they would be willing to have a brief conversation with your volunteer program staff to talk about what the organization can do to make their next volunteer experience better.
Incorporating these simple questions into your volunteer survey can help you generate actionable insights. It’s not just about volunteer satisfaction, it’s also about making your volunteer program better for future volunteers.
Learn more about how to build a strong volunteer program: Read the guide, The Small Association’s Guide to Developing a High-Performing Volunteer Program.