What is on the survey?

This survey contains questions about the volunteer’s feelings and reactions to organizational processes, behaviors, demographics, etc. Using these data, we can inform you about where your organization is excelling and how your organization can develop and grow. VPA student consultants work to tailor the survey to your organization’s needs (to a certain extent) in order to obtain the most relevant and useful information for your organization.

Where do the VPA survey items come from?

VPA is built on the findings of a survey of 70 volunteer programs that was funded by a grant from the Humane Society of the U.S. Based on that large-scale survey, we identified the key drivers for volunteer engagement and commitment. All of the items and scales on the VPA survey come from published research.

Who should take the survey?

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 only to them. This method will tell you less about your volunteer program as a whole, but more about that particular group of volunteers.

Why should I, as a volunteer manager, use the VPA survey?

As a volunteer coordinator, you should use the VPA because it will provide you with valuable information regarding your volunteers’ attitudes and their perceptions of your program. This information can be crucial in making decisions about where to direct your attentions and resources. We, at VPA, understand that volunteer managers are challenged for time and resources. The VPA allows you to learn a great deal about your volunteers with minimal legwork on your part. With the help of your VPA consultant, you will walk away with information about your organization and recommendations on how to prioritize changes and ways to best leverage your volunteer program.

What will VPA do with your survey data?

We will provide you with a report based on the data gathered through the survey. In addition, we will likely use the data to conduct scientific research; however, we will remove any identifying information (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 very seriously.

How was my organization selected to participate in VPA?

We select our clients based on the size of the organization and the perceived value of VPA for the program.  

How can we get our volunteers to fill out the survey (i.e., increase the response rate)?

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

How often can an organization take the VPA survey?

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 assess how effective our recommendations have been at improving your organization.