Our usual approach to volunteer impact fragments the dynamic volunteer experience into its lowest common denominators of numbers and dollars. Along the way, we lose the sense of the whole. How can we stitch it back together again?
The blogs below offer fresh thinking about volunteer impact and help us rediscover important connections. They provide thoughtful critiques of the industry standard as well as alternative approaches to sharing volunteer contributions.
The Industry Standard
Each April in the U.S., Independent Sector releases the updated value of a volunteer hour, which is a form of wage replacement rate. There’s a time and place for using these rates, but not every time and place. When and Where to Use Wage Replacement Rates (or Not) for Volunteer Value is a guide for using these figures wisely.
But Please Don’t Stop There…
Our challenge is to paint a picture about service that is as meaningful, complex, messy, and beautiful as the work volunteers do. To get the juices flowing, check out the blogs below.
- What if We Stopped Counting Volunteer Hours? (Sue Carter Kahl)
- Deriding the Monetary Value of Volunteer Hours: My Mission in Life (Jayne Cravens)
- Judging Volunteers by Their Number of Hours? No Thanks. (Jayne Cravens)
- What is Volunteer Value, Anyway? (Meridian Swift)
- Mission-Centered Volunteer Data Collection (Sue Carter Kahl)
- The Gap between What is Meaningful and What is Measured (Sue Carter Kahl)
- Weaving a More Complete Tapestry of Volunteer Value (Sue Carter Kahl)
- Trading Measurement for Witnessing (Sue Carter Kahl)
- Value of Volunteers – Still Beating the Drum (Jayne Cravens)
- The Tension Involved in Articulating Volunteer Impact (Sue Carter Kahl)
- A Contrarian’s Guide to Volunteer Value (Or an Ode to Volunteer Worth) (Sue Carter Kahl)
If you’re ready to jump in the deep end, be sure to get a copy of Measuring the Impact of Volunteers: A Balanced and Strategic Approach by Christine Burych, Alison Caird, Joanne Fine Schwebel, Michael Fliess, and Heather Hardie. The authors are managers of volunteer programs in healthcare institutions.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
William Bruce Cameron