Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit

What does the tool measure?

The Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit is a practical guide for assessing the difference that volunteering makes. It is aimed at anyone who involves volunteers in their organisation or coordinates their activities. This includes those who have broad managerial responsibilities for volunteers and those who run specific volunteering programmes in the government, private or voluntary and community sectors.

Developed by the Institute for Volunteering Research, the Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit can be used to examine the impact of volunteering on a range of key stakeholder groups.

Who can use the tool?

Designed for any size of volunteer involving organisation, in any sector, the toolkit is designed to measure the impact of volunteering on volunteers, the organisation, direct beneficiaries and the wider community.

How does the tool/approach work?

Reviewed in response to feedback on the first edition, this second edition of the toolkit includes a written guide, which provides step-by-step instructions for conducting an impact assessment, plus exclusive access to a dedicated website containing additional resources.

The toolkit also includes questionnaires which can be used with volunteers, staff, service users and local residents, for both or both basic and more in-depth assessments. All questionnaires also include open-ended questions to allow further exploration of particular issues.

The kit also includes other methods of engaging with stakeholders, including tools such as guides to holding focus groups, case study example an audit form and diary pages for volunteers.

There are different ways of expressing the various differences that volunteering can make, in terms of the differences made to particular groups of people and also the types of differences. The toolkit uses five forms of capital as a way of describing types of differences:

-          Physical capital

-          Human capital

-          Economic capital

-          Social capital

-          Cultural capital


The toolkit can allow organisations to assess any or all of these areas, and allows the exploration of both positive and negative and intended and unintended outcomes.

The possible internal benefits of using the Volunteer Impact Assessment Toolkit include: being able to examine and acting on improvements that can be made as a result of stakeholder feedback; ability to provide feedback to volunteers as to the contribution they make to the organisation; collecting evidence that can be used to get support/funding for volunteering within the organisation.

Some of the external benefits include: demonstrating what volunteers are achieving to the community; providing evidence to funders/potential funders; encouraging new volunteers to join due to the social and personal benefits found through consultation with volunteers.

How to get started and further information:

The Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit can be obtained from Volunteer Development Scotland, at a cost of £29.99 for non-members and £23.99 for members at a 20% discount.

Please visit the Volunteer Development Scotland website for further information on the Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit, including a number of case study examples.