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Survey says, “Ask your volunteers”

Utilizing volunteer surveys is your simple and effective solution to collecting volunteer insights.

Volunteer Survey questions

Volunteer satisfaction is one of the key components that makes someone a repeat volunteer.

People join your cause because they align with your mission, however, what keeps them coming back is their volunteer experience. But, how are they supposed to communicate feedback if you don’t ask them for it?

When to (and why you should) survey volunteers

Improve your volunteers’ experiences, shape your volunteer recruitment, and amplify your volunteer management with feedback from volunteer surveys.

Ensure your volunteering event starts on the right foot before it even begins through a pre-event volunteer survey. Create a “welcome survey” that will help you gauge volunteer expectations and hesitations prior to your volunteer opportunity. Ask volunteers questions such as how they found your serving opportunity, where they are comfortable serving (i.e. inside/outside), and what they are anticipating, so that you can create a safe and fulfilling event. When volunteers arrive and see that you have applied their responses, they can put all of their focus on making an impact with your team.

It is just as important to survey your volunteers after your event. This is when you collect volunteer insights regarding their experience serving with your organization. 

A post-event survey is a good tool for assessing the overall experience of your volunteers. Ask volunteers questions along the lines of, but not limited to, how fulfilling their experience was, what the likelihood is that they will serve with your organization again, and if they saw any room for improvement. Based on their responses, you can adjust your approach to future events as necessary.

volunteer surveys

Tips for creating surveys

  • Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” While those answers would be direct, they don’t provide you with any actionable information.
  • Use a sliding scale to gauge answers such as a scale of 1–5 or Very Likely–Very Unlikely.
  • Don’t use leading questions as these may skew the results of your questionnaire.
  • Encourage participants to elaborate on their responses.
  • Provide an incentive for volunteers to complete the survey. This can include gift cards, being entered into your “Volunteer of the Month” drawing, or extra recognition.

How to survey volunteers

The method you use for surveying volunteers depends on your audience. Living in a digitally-forward era, online surveys are your best option for high participation. Websites like SurveyMonkey allow you to create custom online surveys to share with volunteers. They offer templates to help you build questionnaires and export your data. Most participants will be able to easily navigate an online survey.

Another option is to create an email survey. You can send a PDF for participants to download, fill out, and send back to you, or you can include the text in the body of your email, ask them to copy/paste it and fill in their answers. Another alternative is to use Google Docs or Google Forms. These shareable documents allow you to collect volunteer feedback and see their answers immediately.

If some of your volunteers aren’t quite as familiar with technology as others, you can send a post-event survey in the mail. Just be sure you include a self-addressed and stamped envelope to make returning the survey as easy as possible. You can also request that volunteers complete an “exit survey” on-site before they leave your event. By having them complete the survey before they leave, you will get their most immediate reaction to their experience. However, make sure you factor this into the event time. Some people may leave without completing the survey if it goes beyond the time listed for the event.

Turn answers into action

Bring your volunteer feedback to life through your messaging and website.

While volunteer survey responses are fresh in your mind, apply them to your volunteer program. For instance, if someone said that the training was too long, re-evaluate what information you are including in that portion of your event. If many volunteers said that they want to return for the same event, consider adding more timeslots to your calendar.

Another way to take action on volunteer feedback is to incorporate it into your messaging. Highlight on your website, and in newsletters, that you actively listen to your volunteers and assure participants, both present and future, that their experience matters to your organization. You can take it a step further by showcasing their responses on your website as testimonials. Highlighting positive remarks may help you recruit new volunteers and retain existing volunteers.

Take time to promote the fact that you survey your volunteers. Use social media, your website, or emails to let participants know that you actively want to create a positive volunteer experience. Encourage volunteers to join your mission by demonstrating how highly you regard volunteer feedback.


surveying volunteers

By surveying volunteers, you can help make them feel valued and keep them coming back to serve time and again.

These repeat volunteers will help your keep your mission running smoothly and amplify your impact. The positive feedback from these volunteers will help you grow your volunteer base and show donors the accomplishments of your volunteer teams.

Need some help developing surveys to ensure your volunteers feel valued? VOMO is here to help.