VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


  • Compliments to the Volunteer
  • Getting Ready to Write
  • Four Levels of Evaluation

Compliments to the Volunteer

Volunteers need to be praised!Sometimes supervisors or volunteer managers think their efforts come across as insincere. Here are tips to help you be someone effective with a compliment.

Getting Ready to Write

Most volunteer managers are writers; newsletters, position descriptions; brochures; recruiting materials; grants, and the like. Here are some tips to help you be an effective writer.

    * In most documents it is critical to know the purpose. List the purpose of what you are writing and reasons to support the purpose. For example: The purpose of this brochure is to recruit younger volunteers. The reason to do this is that we have fewer young volunteers and need to build a better pool." This purpose statement keeps you from drifting off into text that has no relationship to your purpose.

Four Levels of Evaluation

Donald Kirkpatrick proposed four distinct levels of evaluation or training in 1959. This deceptively simple method of evaluating training is either loved or hated by professional trainers. It is easy to remember and collect data about to help with future training.


Level 1
Reaction Ask for immediate response from learners. This is evaluation at end of training. Have them rate it. Was it useful or interesting?

Level 2
Learning With this level you need to determine if the volunteer actually learned what they were trained to do. Can they, for example, evacuate people from the building in the event of an emergency? The learner needs to be tested so they can actually demonstrate the skills and/or knowledge the training course was designed to impart.

Level 3
Behavior When the volunteer goes to their assignment after the training, do they do things in the manner in which they were trained? This is where the trainer needs to see if the volunteer is actually using the skills at the work site.

Level 4
Results These steps needs to assess the benefits to the organization because the volunteer is performing their tasks as they were taught to do. Here is where records from other parts of the organization need to be collected. Are more clients being served? Are more phones being answered? Are clients happier with the level of service? This is tangible benefits--by the numbers.

Kirkpatrick maintains that different methods of gathering information are used at each level. He also says that information gathered at one level tells you little or nothing about success at another level. For example, volunteers at Level 1, might tell you they loved the trainer, had a good time, and found the session interesting. This information tells you little or nothing about Level 3. You must find a means to assess their behavior to determine if the training is effective.


Washington State University offers a Volunteer Management Certification Program through the Internet. Individuals around the world can earn a certificate in managing or coordinating volunteers, without leaving home.

For more information, visit Volunteer Today's Portal site. Internet Sites You'll Love. Look for the Washington State University listing. There is a hot link to their Web sites


The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities.

Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project.

For more information contact Glenis Chapin, who is a member of the Executive Committee. She can be reached by phone at 503-588-7990. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.

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Copyright by Nancy Macduff.

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