Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, Released: 2024-03-20, Statistics Canada

Canadian Knowledge Hub
for Giving and Volunteering

At VMPC, we encourage our colleagues to collaborate with us in capturing accurate data to develop more and better approaches to accomplishing the greater objectives of volunteers and the organizations where they have dedicated so much of their time, their energy, and their goodwill.

Using data management for volunteer programs is a helpful practice that can bring numerous benefits and take your volunteer efforts to the next level. Data can also validate the trends seen and felt by volunteer management professionals to support fund development and help get the attention of program stakeholders. Imagine having a trusty sidekick by your side, helping you navigate the vast volunteer landscape with ease. Well, that’s precisely what data management does for you!

VMPC President, Tara Gilroy-Scott shares with us that “as Volunteer Professionals, we are asked to understand the goals and challenges of the organizations and communities where we work, as well as the aspirations and motivations of the volunteers we are called upon to engage in this enterprise. We work towards outcomes that are very much relationship-based, and the best among our peers have a great intuitive sense of how to navigate this complex system.

But our role is also to be able to manage these outcomes, to develop and follow best practices, and to leave a template behind for our colleagues coming into the profession after us, who will build upon our successes as well as learn from our mistakes. And despite the art and finesse required every day in our field, it is a truism of business that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Our best tool for measurement is data, but this is often overlooked in a practice requiring so many more of our relationship-based skills. It is, however, the cornerstone of assessing the effectiveness of our programs, of our volunteers, and of ourselves as leaders.”

Gathering data about giving and volunteering is crucial because it provides valuable insights and information that helps professionals in the field of volunteer management make better decisions and improve volunteer programs. Data management can enhance the effectiveness of your programs and support your work in the following ways:

  • Volunteer Recruitment: Analyze data on past recruitment efforts to identify which channels and messaging led to the highest number of quality volunteers. Use this information to focus on the most successful recruitment methods.
  • Volunteer Screening: Utilize data to track the performance and reliability of volunteers. This helps in identifying high-performing volunteers and ensuring that only reliable individuals are assigned to critical tasks.
  • Volunteer Training: Assess the impact of training programs by measuring volunteer performance before and after training. Adjust training content based on data insights to address skill gaps and enhance volunteer effectiveness.
  • Task Allocation: Use volunteer data, such as skills, interests, and availability, to match volunteers with tasks that suit their abilities, which can increase motivation and satisfaction.
  • Volunteer Feedback: Collect and analyze feedback from volunteers to identify areas for improvement. Data-driven insights from surveys or feedback forms can guide program enhancements.
  • Volunteer Retention: Track volunteer retention rates and use data to identify trends or factors that contribute to volunteer turnover. Addressing these issues can improve volunteer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Resource Allocation: Analyze data on volunteer hours and contributions to understand the value they bring to the organization. This information can justify resource allocation and demonstrate the program’s impact to stakeholders.
  • Impact Assessment: Measure the outcomes and impact of volunteer efforts using data, such as the number of beneficiaries, services rendered, or goals achieved. Communicate this data to donors and supporters to showcase the program’s effectiveness.
  • Volunteer Recognition: Use data to identify outstanding volunteers who deserve recognition or rewards. This can boost morale and encourage continued dedication.
  • Program Evaluation: Regularly assess the overall performance of the volunteer program by comparing data against predefined goals and benchmarks. Use the insights gained to make informed decisions for continuous improvement.

At VMPC, we encourage our colleagues to collaborate with us in capturing accurate data to develop more and better approaches to accomplishing the greater objectives of volunteers and the organizations where they have dedicated so much of their time, their energy, and their goodwill.

We are more than halfway to completion on our data and engagement project with Imagine Canada, Volunteer Canada, Ajah, and the Association for Fundraising Professionals of Canada. A main output resulting from our efforts has been development of the Canadian ‘Knowledge Hub’ for Giving and Volunteering. A website offering information and resources on data centred around giving and volunteering.

We want to help VMPC members and all those who lead volunteers to understand trends in the charitable and volunteering sectors. Data can help us find our strengths and weaknesses as well as build new opportunities. A way you can collaborate with us and take part is to checkout the Knowledge Hub, use the resources, share feedback, and take part in regional and national surveys.

The Knowledge Hub breaks down data from sources such as Canada’s General Social Survey – Giving, Volunteering and Participating (GSS-GVP). The GSS-GVP collects national data on individual contributory behaviours like volunteering, charitable giving, and civic participation. It provides reliable and timely data to the System of National Accounts. The survey also informs public and voluntary sectors in policy and program decisions related to the charitable and volunteer sector. The GSS-GVP is a valuable resource because better understanding people’s opinions and behaviours can be used to help make important decisions.

With data at your fingertips, you gain valuable insights that can help guide you towards making informed decisions. You can identify the most passionate and skilled volunteers for each task, ensuring they’re engaged and fulfilled in their roles. Data can help streamline your volunteer recruitment process, making it smoother and more efficient. Training becomes a breeze as you analyze data to recognize areas where volunteers might need extra support. Tailoring your training programs to their needs ensures they gain the confidence and skills to shine in their roles.

But that’s not all, data management is like a secret weapon against potential challenges. It empowers you to identify and address issues before they become major stumbling blocks, enabling your volunteers to overcome obstacles. As you collect data on your program’s impact, it can also become heartwarming stories of success that you can proudly share with stakeholders and supporters. They’ll be amazed by the quantifiable difference your volunteers are making in the community.

And let’s not forget about volunteer retention – by understanding what motivates your volunteers through data, you can create a nurturing and supportive environment that keeps them coming back with a smile. So, if you aren’t already, embrace data management as an ally in your volunteer programs! Because data empowers volunteer management professionals to make a positive and lasting impact.