Taking this survey may help you diversify your staff, increase your budget, or even get a raise

It’s quite possible that you are already familiar with Tobi Johnson’s Volunteer Management Progress Report Survey. If not, you’re going to want to be part of this year’s effort.

Besides the wealth of information about our collective professional experience, the survey results may affect your bottom line.

“I know of one volunteer manager who took last year’s survey results to her board,” Tobi explains.

“She used those findings to back up how she expanded her volunteer program – and she got approval for a larger program budget.

“And just last week a volunteer manager came up to me at a conference. She, too, took the report to her board, made the case for a higher salary, and got a raise.

“Those are just two examples that I know of and I bet there are many more. The survey is having a positive impact for people.”

Launched just two years ago, the survey is a large-scale effort to capture information from volunteer managers themselves about their practices, needs, and challenges.

In a profession where we often find our work overlooked or minimized, the survey give us the data we need to advocate for better outcomes – things like better pay, more staff, and greater diversity.

The diversity question figures large in this year’s survey.

Tobi Johnson, CVA, created the Volunteer Management Progress Report Survey to move the profession forward

Tobi explains: “Each year, we switch out some questions and drill down farther into issues that surfaced from the previous survey.”

In last year’s survey, 89% of the survey respondents were Caucasian – that’s 7% more than the national average for nonprofit employees.

“We want to understand those figures better, so we’re asking more questions. We want to know if the current makeup of those who lead volunteers correlates with whether the volunteer corps at organizations reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.”

Tobi’s excited about this information, not only because it paints a clearer picture of our actions around diversity, but because just asking the questions gets us thinking.

“We want to do more than collect data. We want to get people to reflect on what they are doing with regard to these issues. Diversity is a big topic in our society. The survey needs to live and breathe what’s going on in the world.”

What else is big this year?  Benchmarks.

“Now that we’re into our third year, we can start to spot trends in the data we have already collected – for example, are salaries and budgets on the rise? Also, we are collecting metrics that organizations might be able to use to compare themselves with others? While it is very difficult to measure program effectiveness with a survey, we hope that the field can use this data to help inform their own work.”

For example:

  • Examining volunteer “conversion rates” may help us set realistic goals for recruitment and marketing
  • Looking at programs with high retention rates may reveal correlations with other program and organizational characteristics
  • Comparing volunteer show/no show rates may help organizations identify areas for potential intervention and improvement

Last year’s survey was fully completed by an impressive 1,080 participants in the US and 17 other countries. This year, Tobi and her associates (Trina Williard  of Knowledge Advisory Group and Pam Kappelides of LaTrobe University), are shooting for at least 1,500 participants.

“This is the largest crowdsourcing venture in our field,” Tobi remarked. “The more years that go by, the more data we have at our disposal to better understand where our field is now and where we are headed.

“Volunteer managers work really hard. By and large we are under-recognized and under-appreciated. My dream is that 5 or 10 years from now, we’ll see significant positive changes from this information. My hope is that this research will help move our profession forward and offer a little extra wind in the sails of those who do so much.”


Your experience matters. Add your voice to this year’s survey.

If you are actively serving in a volunteer management role (regardless of your title), take the Volunteer Management Progress Report Survey now.  You need only ten minutes to complete the questions. 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 18 at 1pm EST.

The survey closes November 30th, so don’t delay.