There’s lots of information available about employee engagement, but what about volunteer engagement?

We have worked with many organisations on their volunteer engagement surveys, analysing responses from thousands of volunteers. In that time, we have discovered there are 3 statement questions that best measure engagement levels:

  1. I am proud to tell people that I volunteer for this organisation
  2. I would recommend this organisation as a good place to volunteer
  3. I intend to still be volunteering for the organisation in 12 months’ time

The three questions behave differently, and we have found that question 2 – ‘a good place to volunteer’ – is the most insightful engagement question.

Drivers of ‘a good place to volunteer’

Firstly, we explored the relationship between volunteer engagement and the following questions:

  • Communications   I am kept informed of what is happening elsewhere in my organisation
  • Management   I trust and respect my manager
  • Leadership   I trust and respect the leadership group in this organisation
  • Learning and Development   I am given the training necessary for me to carry out my volunteering role effectively
  • Performance Management   I receive regular, timely feedback that helps me improve my performance
  • Recognition   I receive prompt acknowledgement and recognition for my volunteering
  • Role – impact   I feel that I make an impact through the volunteering that I do
  • Role – skills   My volunteering role allows me to make good use of my skills and experience

5,228 volunteers in our database had answered all these questions, and we used multiple linear regression to analyse the unique impact of each question on ‘a good place to volunteer’.


The results are set out in the chart below. The percentage figure identifies the level of unique impact of each question on ‘a good place to volunteer’. The top 3 questions between them account for almost two-thirds (63%) of the impact.

 Note: The impact of performance management was statistically insignificant.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Here are a few of our recommendations from this analysis:

  1. Include ‘a good place to volunteer’ as one of your engagement questions
  2. If you wish to increase the engagement of volunteers, pay particular attention to the following three factors:
    • The extent to which your volunteers trust and respect their manager
    • The extent to which your volunteers can clearly see the impact of their work
    • The extent to which your volunteers trust and respect your organisation’s leadership
  3. Explore the relative impact of these factors in your organisation, and prioritise the most important.



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