Assessing the Program

Evaluation is essential to improve program effectiveness, document accomplishments and justify expenditures. Although few would dispute the value of evaluation, its implementation is significantly more complex.

There are many considerations involved. Should the efforts of volunteers be assessed independently of the work of staff? Does one monitor the work of volunteers or examine the impact of larger programmatic initiatives on the client served or the outcome achieved? And how does one measure the impact of volunteers – by the number of people who show up for work, by the hours they commit to a project – by the return on investment – by social cost accounting – by a cost-benefit analysis….? These questions are complex, but need to be asked and answered. They are also intrinsically linked to your records keeping system. If you do not collect information about volunteers, their work and their experience, then you cannot evaluate your program.

Because this step is so important, we’ve provided you with some resources to help tackle your evaluation effort: