How to Gather Feedback From Your Volunteers

July 3, 2018 | 2,105 views

How to Gather Feedback From Your Volunteers

How to Gather Feedback From Your Volunteers

In the business world, there’s something called the feedback loop. This loop is a systematic approach to gather opinions from people, use those opinions to make changes, and then start over again. It’s a cause-and-effect approach that enables companies to grow.


Your non-profit can benefit from feedback looping when requesting ideas and insights from your volunteers. Here’s how to make it most effective.


Keep It Anonymous

42% of people hold back information when they have nothing to gain or something to lose, according to Cornell National Social Survey. However, when you make your feedback forms anonymous, people are more likely to be open and honest with their answers.


Unlike employees in your company, volunteers won’t feel like they have a lot to lose by offering their opinion. Their job isn’t at stake. Still, their reputation and the warm embrace they feel when they walk into your events or organization to volunteer is, which are valuable assets they might not want to jeopardize by publicly sharing their ideas.


To get the most raw, honest feedback, anonymity is valuable. There are plenty of ways to do this. For example, you can put together an anonymous online survey. Or, you can ask for handwritten surveys to be handed back in at the end of an event. Regardless of how, the more you can protect the anonymity, the more likely you are to hear feedback that will lend itself to real, positive change.


Show the Feedback in Action

We’ve talked before about the importance of listening with intention to your employee feedback. The same goes for your volunteer’s feedback.


Listening with intention means listening with a plan to absorb what’s being said and then act on it. That action step is critical. It shows that you’ve heard the person and value the time they took to offer their opinion. For example, if a volunteer has a hard time keeping track of meetings you’re holding about an event or the people who she’s supposed to volunteer with that day, implementing an online scheduling app would be a solution.


What happens if you don’t agree with their feedback or cannot implement the changes they suggested? That will certainly happen and when it does, you should still take action by replying with gratitude and, when possible, a reason for why the suggested change cannot happen. Although you’re not making a change, you’re still signaling that their feedback was valuable to you, which will make the person feel appreciated and that their time was well-spent.


Make It a Regular Habit

Requesting feedback isn’t a one-and-done occurrence. To continue iterating and innovating in your non-profit organization, requesting feedback on a regular basis will help you continue to get ideas. This continuous flow of ideas will enable you to evolve alongside your volunteers’ wants and needs, helping you retain the people who are so dedicated to your cause.


Implement a Feedback Loop in Your Organization

Implementing a feedback loop in your organization is an excellent way to continuously grow as a company. With these ideas, you’ll be in a prime position to attract even more volunteers to help fuel your mission. What are you doing to gather feedback and show people you’re listening?



Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

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