Is your nonprofit asking the right questions on your volunteer satisfaction survey? How is the information captured helping your organization to make better decisions about your volunteer program?

One of the best ways to monitor and optimize your volunteer program is by leveraging the opinions of your volunteers. Creating a strategic volunteer satisfaction survey is a great way to gauge areas of your nonprofit’s program that are strong and others that could use improvement. A volunteer satisfaction survey can help your organization to make strategic changes that push your program forward and offer new benefits to volunteers. In today’s blog post, we will provide 5 tips to make the most of your organization’s volunteer satisfaction survey.

Tip #1: Your Volunteer Satisfaction Survey Should Ask the Right Questions

This tip may seem like an obvious one but you would be surprised at how many nonprofits are asking volunteers the wrong questions on their satisfaction survey. The questions that your nonprofit asks should relate to organizational goals. Each question should serve a unique purpose in the effort to push your volunteer program processes further.

Your organization may want to develop questions to learn more about:

  • How volunteers identified opportunities with your nonprofit.
  • Why volunteers were compelled to commit their time to your cause.
  • What volunteers like and disliked about your organization’s training program.
  • What roles your volunteers are most interested in pursuing.
  • What your volunteer’s goals are on a personal level (Your organization may want to provide developmental opportunities that coincide).
  • How your volunteers perceived their volunteer experience overall.
  • If volunteers plan to commit their time to your organization in the future.


Tip #2: Avoid the Halo Effect by Asking Volunteers for Honesty

Often times volunteers avoid telling your organization the truth about their experience. Supporters do not want to voice a negative experience because your organization is working towards greater-good. It is imperative that your nonprofit communicates with and alleviates this fear when asking volunteers to provide their feedback. Gathering honest responses is the first step in properly evaluating volunteer experiences. Feedback is only beneficial when it represents a realistic overview of experiences.

Your organization can avoid the halo effect on a volunteer satisfaction survey by:

  1. Communicating the importance of truthful responses.
  2. Making the survey anonymous.
  3. Protecting your respondent’s privacy.
  4. Creating open-ended questions that gauge volunteers for honest responses.


Tip #3: Provide Volunteers with a Survey Introduction and Thank You

Your organization needs to take the time to provide volunteers with a brief overview of the purpose of your volunteer satisfaction survey. Let volunteers know what your organization is attempting to capture, how the insights will improve a process and your overall goals of the survey. Transparency with volunteer participants allows your nonprofit to build a closer relationship with supporters. Do not forget to provide volunteers with a genuine thank you at the end of the survey. Keep in mind that an introduction and thank you message will also help to add structure to your survey.


Tip #4: Verify the Integrity of Your Volunteer Data

Your nonprofits volunteer satisfaction survey success has a lot to do with your organization’s volunteer data. If volunteer data is not up to date or has holes the survey distribution process may suffer. Improper distribution and communication can make your nonprofit look unorganized to the supporters you are attempting to leverage.

If your organization is still using a manual volunteer management process it may be time to invest in a software-based solution.

Investing in a volunteer management software solution can:

1.) Save your organization time by eliminating manual volunteer data-entry and scheduling.
2.) Integrate with your organizations CRM to provide better insights.
3.) Help your organization create an automated communication process.
4.) Assist in identifying the right volunteer for the right organizational role.


Tip #5: Connect Your Survey to Future Change

Volunteers want to be appreciated and have their voices heard by your organization. Process and strategy changes that your nonprofit makes because of your satisfaction survey should be reported to your volunteer-base. Doing so validates that volunteers and their opinions matter. Making real changes based on volunteer feedback also demonstrates the value of the survey process and encourages supporters to continue to provide their insights in the future.



Developing and implementing a volunteer satisfaction survey is one of the best ways your organization can leverage the insights of your supporters and make changes that benefit your program. A successful survey should ask the right questions, avoid the halo effect, explain why it is necessary, thank volunteers for participating, align with your organization’s volunteer data, and be connected to future change.

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