‘What have I achieved?’ activity

In this activity we’d like you to think about how your organisation monitors volunteers’ contributions and how you feedback to them about the difference they make.

Activity 8

Reflecting on what you have read, ask yourself:

  1. What do you want to know more about: the impact on volunteers or the impact of volunteers?
  2. What is the contribution that volunteers make on a day-to-day basis?
  3. How do you monitor volunteers’ contributions?
  4. What other methods might you use to evaluate what’s going well or what could be improved?
  5. Is the difference that their contribution makes clear to the volunteer?
  6. How do you communicate and celebrate this difference, both internally and externally, in a way that is proportionate for the context?

Don’t forget to record your reflections in your learning journal.


It doesn’t have to be a daunting task to find out more about the difference that volunteers make. Collecting and sharing some basic monitoring information can help you do this. For example:

  • Volunteers filled 20 bags of litter at the community clean up.
  • Last month volunteers coached 50 kids at the football club.
  • Volunteers welcomed and assisted over 200 people attending an annual event.

Volunteers might be having a great time and be happy to go out and chat to members of the public, but they do need some evidence that while they are enjoying themselves they are also having an impact. By linking these achievements back to your group or organisation’s aims and objectives, volunteers can see how their contribution fits into the bigger picture.

You could also take it a little further than this and survey your service users and share some of the findings with volunteers. For example:

  • Ninety-nine per cent of our customers enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with their volunteer befriender.
  • The youth club fulfilled its aim to engage 50 young people a year.
  • Last year volunteers contributed 600 hours to delivering activities that the young people rated as ‘excellent’ and ‘great fun’.

In this video James from LGBT Youth Scotland talks about how they share what they find out about the difference that volunteers make.

Download this video clip.Video player: James, Volunteering Manager, LGBT Youth Scotland. All rights reserved.
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James, Volunteering Manager, LGBT Youth Scotland. All rights reserved.
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For volunteers at the Community Gala Group, knowing that they have made a difference can be gained on Gala day. One volunteer said, ‘People in the village tell us and you can see it in their faces.’ Another said, ‘You see the park set up with all its stalls, rides, food tents and stage in a few hours. And the amount of money that we raise for the village.’

Knowing the difference you make as a volunteer also relates to roles and communication. If volunteers are clear from the start about why the organisation needs voluntary contribution, and what they’re expected to do, then it will be easier for them to see the difference they are making.

‘What have I achieved?’ continued

4.3 Take action and be ready to make a difference