Want To Write A Volunteer Program Annual Report? Here’s How To Start

Want To Write A Volunteer Program Annual Report? Here’s How To Start

This is a guest post by Elisa Kosarin, originally appearing on Twenty Hats.

Your volunteers tell a compelling story. It’s time to share it.

If you’ve been reading the Twenty Hats blog lately, you might think you’ve switched to the ‘Volunteer Impact Channel.’ I’ve focused heavily on this question because strategic volunteer outcomes do the heavy lifting when it comes to volunteer program credibility. These metrics connect the dots in a concrete, data-driven way between your organization’s mission and the value of your volunteers.

One thing, though — for all the emphasis, there is one important message I want you to remember:

You don’t have to wait until you’ve created volunteer impact measures to start promoting your volunteer program.

If you’re not quite there yet — and I know many of you need to plan the process for a future time — you still have plenty of quality material to educate and inform executive directors, board members, corporations, faith-based organizations and even your volunteers.

And best of all, you can achieve this education by creating a document that is easy to access and full of great info:

You can create a Volunteer Management Annual Report.

This report is very similar to an organizational annual report. It’s a summary of information about what your volunteers accomplished within a given fiscal year for your organization.

Consider this report your special platform for bragging about your volunteers’ accomplishments. It’s an opportunity to share multiple perspectives on the value of your program – perspectives that will both impress your stakeholders and help you advocate for higher budgets, more staff and greater influence.

The notion of a Volunteer Management Annual Report is not new. There are volunteer programs that have made the publication a standard practice. CVA Liza Dyer, for example, once shared her program’s annual report with Twenty Hats readers.

Ideally, data about your volunteer program is part of the organization-wide annual report. But if your nonprofit has not started to include this kind of information ― or if the only stats that get reported are the # of volunteers, the # of hours served and the $ equivalent of those hours ― then you have an excellent opportunity to take the initiative and create your own supplemental report.

Are you sold on this concept? Yes? If so, you’ll want some basic guidelines to get you started:

  1. Mix up the content. You’re going to want statistical information in your report, but relying purely on data makes for a stale document. It is acceptable (preferable, really) to vary the content with plenty of anecdotal information (more on what to include in a moment).
  2. Give your report a professional look. If you have access to a graphic designer, great. If not, there are lots of online templates that you can use to create something that looks as professional as the volunteer program you operate.
  3. Make your pride palpable. Your executive director may wish to write the opening statement for your report. If not, use the report as an opportunity to create your own message, one that conveys your enthusiasm and gratitude for the contributions of your volunteers.

Those are the basics. Now on to the types of content that you’ll want to include. As you’ll see from the list below, there are many ways to sing the praises of your volunteers, and chances are, you already have this information on hand:

  • Outcomes-based impact data. Again, you don’t have to wait until you gather this type of high-impact data to produce a VMAR. On the other hand, if you DO collect this data, your report is a prime vehicle for sharing it.
  • Other incremental types of data that you may track. Most likely, you’re currently tracking all kinds of data to improve the internal workings of your program. That’s great information to include in an annual report – it demonstrates how effectively you run your program and illustrates just who your volunteers are. You might include stats such as: - Volunteer retention - Referral sources - Volunteer demographics - Number of volunteers who also give - Results from satisfaction surveys sent to your volunteers, staff or even clients
  • Baseline stats. It’s still helpful to include information on the # of volunteers, # of volunteer hours and $ equivalent of those hours. This data helps readers understand the scope of your program.
  • Feedback from surveys. Chances are, you’ve got some great positive comments to brag about from those satisfaction surveys. Make sure to include them.
  • Include plenty of visuals. It’s much harder for our brains to absorb text without images to accompany the narrative. Start gathering up plenty of photos of your volunteers, staff and (if possible) clients.
  • Volunteer stories. Humans process information fastest when they receive the message in story form. Make sure to include several stories of volunteers and the results of their efforts for clients. Meridian Swift has an excellent blog post on this subject – make sure to check it out.
  • Any special recognition received. External appreciation is a powerful credibility-booster. Have you volunteers been recognized in any way? Any awards won? Any special media coverage, such as newspaper articles or television stories? Make sure to include links within your report.

A few weeks back, Rob Jackson revisited the question of volunteer manager salaries, speculating on how we might elevate our status within organizations. The more I reflect on the question, the more convinced I become that it’s up to us to demonstrate our value and document our enormous contributions to our communities. What better way to do that, than by gathering your facts, assembling them in an easy-to-grasp format and then hitting “Publish.”


Offero makes it easier than ever to put together a Volunteer Program Annual Report. Our volunteer management system tracks the metrics you need for an impactful report, like baseline program statistics, impact-related measures (economic impact, special initiatives, etc.), and volunteer feedback. To learn even more ways that Offero can save you time and energy, call us at (970) 377-0077 or email info@offero.com.

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Introducing Volunteer Benchmark—How Does Your Volunteer Program Stack Up?

Introducing Volunteer Benchmark—How Does Your Volunteer Program Stack Up?

Introducing Volunteer Benchmark—How Does Your Volunteer Program Stack Up?

We are excited to announce the launch of our new volunteer program measurement tool, Volunteer Benchmark. Created by Offero, Volunteer Benchmark is the first resource of its kind that allows you to see how your volunteer program stacks up against similar organizations.

Volunteer Benchmark’s unique algorithm assesses volunteer program metrics in the following categories:

  • Program Statistics
  • Return on Volunteer Investment (ROVI)
  • Economic Impact
  • Volunteer Engagement

Additionally, Volunteer Benchmark provides a platform to connect with and learn from our spotlight organization, the City of Fort Collins.

Learn more about Volunteer Benchmark and sign-up to start measuring your program today.

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The City of Boulder Selects Offero As Its Volunteer Management System

The City of Boulder Selects Offero As Its Volunteer Management System

The Selection of Offero Reinforces the City of Boulder’s Commitment to Community Stewardship and Engagement

The City of Boulder’s nation-wide search for a volunteer management software ended close to home with the selection of Fort Collins-based Offero. Developed in 2012 by Squarei Technologies, Offero is the premier system for government agencies desiring to manage city-wide volunteer programs and community participation in one place. The selection of Offero reinforces the City of Boulder’s mission to support a community of service by taking customer service to a new level and standardizing practices across departments.

Of the recent partnership, Lindsey Rehder, COO of Squarei Technologies, commented, “We are really excited to work with the City of Boulder’s Volunteer Cooperative and help them manage their volunteers more efficiently. Spending less time on paperwork means they can spend more time on what really matters.”

The City of Boulder boasts a robust Volunteer Cooperative with 6002 volunteers contributing 88,951 total hours with an economic impact of $2.3 million in 2017. The cooperative is supported by 31 staff members throughout ten city departments including Open Space and Mountain Parks, Boulder Police Department, Boulder Parks and Recreation, and Boulder Public Library. The City of Boulder can expect to see an increased return on volunteer investment (ROVI) with Offero—branded by the city as CountMeIn.

“CountMeIn will allow us to provide exceptional customer service and maximize volunteer engagement, which is very important to us as a Points of Light Certified Service Enterprise”, said Aimee Kane, Volunteer Program and Project Manager with the City of Boulder.

CountMeIn will be Boulder’s one-stop solution for volunteer coordination and event management city-wide. The cloud-based system will save staff members, volunteers, and patrons alike time and energy with intuitive features like automated hour tracking, self-reported site visits with impact-related measures, eLearning, activity registration, highly-customizable reporting, world class training and support, and more. Other customers of the software include organizations like Boulder County, Larimer County Natural Resources, Loveland Open Lands and Trails, and the City of Fort Collins.

The City of Boulder will go live with CountMeIn in early 2019. The city was previously using a variety of systems across departments—from Excel to Volgistics—to manage their volunteers.

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Best Practices in Volunteer Program Benchmarking

Best Practices in Volunteer Program Benchmarking

Best Practices in Volunteer Program Benchmarking [Webinar Recording]

Should I measure one-time volunteers or only ongoing? Active volunteers or contributing? The number of volunteer hours or the number of volunteers? If you’ve ever asked these questions you’ll want to check out the recording of our webinar, “Making Metrics Matter: Best Practices in Volunteer Program Benchmarking.”

Hosted by Lindsey Rehder of Offero and Charlotte Norville of the City of Fort Collins, this engaging webinar tackles the most important volunteer program measurement questions including:

  • Which metrics should I use as benchmarks against other organizations?
  • Which volunteer engagement questions do I need to ask?
  • How should I keep track of volunteer program metrics?

Access the webinar recording and resources here.

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Volunteer Recognition: Beyond the Pins, Plaques, and Parties

Volunteer Recognition: Beyond the Pins, Plaques, and Parties

Volunteer Recognition: Beyond the Pins, Plaques, and Parties

Research shows that there is a disconnect between what volunteers are seeking in terms of recognition and what organizations are providing. That’s why it’s important to rethink volunteer recognition and consider how your organization can align recognition efforts more closely with what actually motivates volunteers.

We are excited to share a free resource with you, Beyond Pins, Plaques and Parties: A Volunteer Recognition eToolkit, created by our background screening partner, Verified Volunteers. With this eToolkit your organization will learn how to:

  • Set the stage for meaningful recognition
  • Tailor recognition to motivational styles
  • Develop and plan strategies to effectively recognize volunteers for their annual and ongoing efforts
  • Assess your organization’s culture of appreciation
  • Define what you want your culture of appreciation to look like

Get your free Volunteer Recognition eToolkit now.

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