Tag: volunteer management

Effective recognition is a big deal when it comes to ensuring volunteers feel like they’re a part of your nonprofit or organization. When I say “recognition,” I’m not just talking about thanking volunteers, although that’s essential, too. What I mean by recognition is the act of being acknowledged or appreciated or even seen.

Consider the following example. Volunteer Canada and Investors Group conducted a study where they asked a large group of volunteers about the type of recognition they liked most from the nonprofits where they volunteer. They also asked the organizations about the type of recognition they were providing to volunteers. Luckily, both parties ranked high on the “thank you” front. There were a few differences elsewhere, however. Organizations were more likely to provide a banquet or formal gathering, whereas volunteers were not as keen for that type of activity. On the flipside, volunteers wanted to know the impact of their work, but it wasn’t as common for organizations to provide that information to volunteers. This example brings me to a basic question: How can volunteers and nonprofits get on the same page?

Getting on the Same Page

My organization, Multnomah County Library, is a public library system with 19 different locations in and around Portland, Oregon. Our volunteer program includes 1,900 volunteers annually, doing a variety of things, including shelving and checking in materials, assisting with computer classes and programs, and providing various outreach services. With so many engaged community members, each volunteer is not going to want or need the same things to feel appreciated. We do our best to create a recognition program that has aspects that appeal to different preferences. But how do we know what volunteers want? To answer that question, we started surveying our volunteers to learn more about how they like to be recognized for their time and dedication.

In the most recent survey from February 2015, we contacted 556 of our current volunteers who had given at least 24 hours of time to the library. We included that 24-hour baseline to make sure we were surveying volunteers who had been around at least a little while so they had a chance to experience our recognition efforts. The survey was created with Zoomerang, and 309 volunteers participated.

We asked several questions, including length of service, the location or program in which they volunteer, what type of recognition they would like, and what they have enjoyed in the past. We were especially interested in the various forms of recognition that volunteers said they would appreciate most.

Survey Says…

The preferred form of recognition—year after year—is a “thank you” card or note from the staff that volunteers work with. It may sound simple, but it’s a great chance for staff to express gratitude.

Other forms that ranked highly include:

  1. Notifications about new library programs and services
  2. Special, volunteer-only events
  3. Regular updates about how my volunteer service is making a difference to the library

We also include a section in the survey where volunteers can suggest things we haven’t considered. In the results of one of our surveys, we learned that a specific group of volunteers wanted a more comfortable chair to sit in during their volunteer shifts. So what did we do? We got them a chair.

A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action Please

After each annual survey is complete, the Volunteer Services workgroup gets together to discuss the responses and make a plan for our recognition efforts for the next year. We then divvy up the work based on interest and expertise of individual staff members.

To notify volunteers of new programs and services, we created a Google Site to serve as an intranet of sorts. Recent updates have included information about the Summer Reading program and teen art contest. The Summer Reading program is the library’s largest youth engagement program with nearly 800 volunteers—85% of whom are under the age of 18—so we want to make sure our volunteers in other areas of the library are kept in the loop if they want to be. Whenever the Google Site is updated, we email volunteers to let them know there’s new content.

Something that gets posted on both the Google Site and the library’s public website is the Volunteer Spotlight. The monthly article is written by a volunteer, about a volunteer. This allows us to highlight individual volunteers as well as share information about programs or services they’re involved in. We encourage volunteers and paid staff to nominate volunteers for the spotlight throughout the year.

We also plan volunteer-only events such as a tour of the John Wilson Special Collections at Central Library, which houses rare books and other special items. This twice-yearly event is so popular that registration (capped at 20 due to space) usually fills within a day. At the start of the tour we either provide a short presentation on how volunteers positively impact the library, or have a librarian give a presentation on a service such as My Librarian. Another event we hosted last year was a board game night for volunteers (and a guest if they wanted to bring someone along). We look forward to planning more events to connect volunteers in the future.

The More You Know

A person who doesn’t feel recognized, or “seen,” likely won’t stick around your organization for long. So how can you make sure that volunteers feel acknowledged and included? Ask them. You might be surprised by what you learn.

 

Among the things that we, as nonprofit professionals, have to cram into our day, tracking and measurement generally sit pretty close to the top of the “I know it’s important but I never have time for it” pile. Don’t deny it. If only we had more time, we could implement all of the awesome strategies and tactics we learn by reading the NTEN Blog!

This is even truer for measuring the impact of our volunteer programs. At the risk of showing a persecution complex, volunteer programs are often seen as a “nice to have” when it comes to nonprofit resources and support. After all, volunteers are supposed to be free, right?

Ahhhh!

The truth is, volunteer programs require budget and resources just like any other nonprofit program does. They will give back at least ten times that amount in the long run, if given the necessary support. Thus the frustrating catch-22 of the nonprofit volunteer program: If we only had more money, we could invest in volunteer programs that would enable us to get more money!

Why is Measuring Volunteer Impact Important?

One way to break this vicious cycle is to prove to nonprofit leaders and funders that volunteers really are a keystone program in the nonprofit sector. And when we say “prove,” we mean lots and lots of pretty charts, graphs, and data visualizations, of course.

The need to invest more in volunteers is just another symptom of the larger nonprofit funding conundrum made popular by Dan Pallotta and the folks who launched the Overhead Myth: By penalizing nonprofits that make staff and operational support a priority, we’re essentially setting the entire sector up for failure. I mean, who would run a business like that?

Data, in my opinion, can help us overcome these gross (aka “disgusting”) misconceptions. For example, did you know that the lifetime value of a volunteer recruited (for free) via the VolunteerMatch network is over $3,000? Beat that ROI!

There’s more: Reimagining Service has a whole page of resources to help you make the case for volunteer management funding. From research on the estimated value of volunteer time, to connecting the dots between volunteer management and organizational effectiveness, there’s enough data here to keep any tech geek happy for hours.

Your Volunteer Impact Report

It’s often not enough, however, to quote other folks’ statistics. What about your experiences? How do volunteers impact your organizations, and how can we all learn from this to make sure our programs are better supported in the future?

Back in the spring of 2014, VolunteerMatch partnered with technology review firm Software Advice to find out what metrics, indicators, and data collection methods nonprofits are using to measure volunteers’ impact on their organizations’ outcomes.

We ended up getting over 2,700 responses from organizations of all shapes, sizes, and locations. Some of the data points presented in the first-ever Volunteer Impact Report provide unexpected lessons about the role volunteer programs play in organizational success, and how nonprofits are tracking and measuring this.

For example, when reporting on the benefits of measuring volunteer impact, many respondents mentioned increased recruitment and retention of volunteers, as well as improved program outcomes overall. Additionally, a full 17% of respondents also reported that their organizations obtained more funding because these impact numbers motivated funders to give!

Tying measurement directly to bottom-line fundraising results? Yes, please! Despite this encouraging statistic, however, only 55% of respondents said that their organizations measure volunteer impact at all. The key obstacles, not surprisingly, are lack of resources, time, and knowledge.

Don’t Let It End Here

So what have we learned? Measuring volunteer impact on your organization not only results in more successful volunteer programs and more successful nonprofits in general, it also helps organizations raise more money. And yet, a significant portion of nonprofits are not tracking the impact of volunteers.

How can we fix this?

First of all, if your organization is not currently tracking volunteer impact, take a look at the Volunteer Impact Report to see how others are doing it. There’s information in there about the frequency, strategies and tools other nonprofits are using.

Next, grab a couple of coworkers who also believe this is important and form an alliance. Convince your leadership and coworkers that tracking and reporting a few key volunteer program metrics will help everyone’s goals in the long run.

Finally, utilize the great resources from organizations like NTEN and VolunteerMatch to gain access to the skills, tools and advice you need to conduct your surveys, analyze your data and improve your programs.

The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) supports Portland’s arts and writing community and curates North America’s largest zine library, a circulating archive of self-published and otherwise underground and rare publications. Our collection is well-known, diverse, and spans seven decades and over 60 languages.

As glorious as the zine library is, we have developed an enviable problem of scale. When we first started collecting and archiving zines back in 1999, it was simply a small collection of zines in a few milk crates. We had a talented professional librarian who volunteered and catalogued all the zines lovingly by himself. We got just a few dozen zines donated each month, so adding them to the catalogue was a relatively simple process.

Now, however, 20-200 zines and comics are donated each week, and there’s no way to catalog the zines fast enough with our regular volunteers. It became clear that we needed to engage more volunteers to catalog zines. The backlog had grown so unimaginable, though, that it seemed impossible we’d be able to train enough volunteers to catalog zines using our existing database. What’s more, cataloguing zines could only happen at the IPRC by volunteers trained on our database when no other task was being done on our two computers.

Even if two of the most dedicated, magical volunteers could simultaneously catalog 12 hours a day, seven days a week, it would still take nearly six months to work through our entire backlog — and that’s if we didn’t intake a single new zine. Essentially, even if volunteers only catalogued new zines, we’d still be paddling up a creek filled with photocopied pages of punk mixtape track listings and Star Trek fan comics.

I started having fantasies of a marathon of cataloguing: how could we make it fun for volunteers to catalog zines? What if we made it a feat of strength? In a fit of nonprofit overconfidence, Raiders of the Lost Archives was born. Imagined as a 24-hour zine cataloguing marathon, we managed to pull off the work of cataloguing zines. One hundred twenty people showed up. We catalogued over 1000 zines  — the equivalent of the 3 previous years’ worth of volunteer work in less than a day.

I had long thought that cataloguing zines was an introverted activity and that the best volunteer recruitment I could do would be to make it easy for volunteers to take a stack of zines home, read them while cuddling their cat, and bring them back at their leisure. But Raiders of the Lost Archives’ first 24-hour cataloguing event revealed that competitive reading is actually a thing. Librarianship and zinestership fosters a collaborative, friendly environment, and volunteers loved both the bragging rights and getting to show off weird or rare zines to their friends.

This first year, I simply used a very rudimentary Google doc to have volunteers do the data entry. This meant that every couple hours, I sorted the Google doc into columns, counted up each team’s zines, and hand-wrote a “leaderboard” on the IPRC’s fold-up whiteboard. It worked okay, but I had dreams  of a real game with merit badges for cataloguing certain types of zines — 1980’s zines, punk zines, zines about cats, zines made in Oregon, etc.

Once again armed with overconfidence — this time that of someone who’s never built a piece of functional software before, I managed to assemble a team of programmers and sat in on weekly Sunday morning conference calls about the zine library game. Just a week before our second annual Raiders of the Lost Archives, the software was still too buggy to use. It was possible I was going to do another whiteboard leaderboard again this year if the game didn’t get finished. They pulled an all-nighter and delivered a working game just two hours before the event started. As our intrepid Raiders trickled in, ready to start, I got them set up on the game, relying on one of our sleep-deprived and coffee-fueled volunteer programmers to act as tech support for the first several hours of the event. He squashed the last bugs in the first few hours of the Raiders event as volunteers reported problems.

Altogether, the game meant that we could foster friendly competition amongst volunteers. The merit badges were incredible motivating for volunteers and allowed us to prioritize zines that we wanted to catalog — within a few hours of Raiders starting, every single copy of “Whipsaw,” our local soccer team’s fanzine, was catalogued, because there was a merit badge for cataloguing it. Around 3AM, some of our volunteers had acquired every merit badge but the Harry Potter merit badge (turns out Harry Potter fanzines were scarce), so motivated by a “collect ‘em all” attitude, we collaborated on a few Harry Potter fanzines we then immediately catalogued. Talk about volunteer motivation for data entry – volunteers were actually creating more things to data enter!

We ended up cataloging 40% more zines than the previous year; a post-hoc survey found that those that participated both years said they found the game a huge improvement in the overall experience. The game is so usable that now we have a “zine donation station” set up and require people to use the game to catalog their own zine donations at the time they donate them, eliminating the intake bottleneck we were experiencing for donations. The wait time from new donation to “new arrivals” shelf is now less than 11 days — as opposed to the eight months when it was just three volunteers cataloguing zines. Many people use the game to catalog their own zine and have so much fun using the game that they come back to catalog from our backlog.

What’s next for the game? We’re recruiting a volunteer UI designer to pretty up the “game” and make it more game-like. Plans involve a secret zine forest filled with yetis. The hope is that there will be quests that participants can create within the game, and we’ll open up the “merit badges” to be created by the volunteers as they level up. But even if nothing changes in the game, it solved a problem for us that every non-profit struggles with: how do you make data entry rewarding and fun.

Many nonprofit organizations are leaning heavily on digital marketing and donation appeals due to the ever-growing cost of snail mail, among other reasons. If your organization is adopting this trend, are you utilizing the right tools and strategies to optimize the amount of online donations you receive?

Here, we’ll explain two simple strategies for improving your organization’s corporate giving metrics by making just a few simple edits to your website.

“Ways to Give” and Donation Confirmation Web Pages

Almost every nonprofit has a section on its website that allows constituents to make an online donation. When donors have the easy and convenient option to donate with a credit or debit card, it increases the likelihood of securing a donation. On these pages (pre- and post-donation), your organization can add images, links, and other kinds of attention-catching items to educate your donors about the possibility of matching gifts.

Briefly put, matching gifts are a kind of corporate giving program in which an employer will match an employee’s donation, generally dollar for dollar, to an eligible nonprofit organization. For example, when an employee of General Electric makes a $50 donation to a charity of their choice, GE will match the donation at a 1:1 ratio, resulting in a total of $100 donated to the charity.

If you need another reason to promote matching gifts to your donors, more than 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer some form of matching gift program, and thousands of other corporations (big and small) do, too. There are billions of dollars being left behind annually because nonprofits don’t take full advantage of these corporate giving programs – don’t be part of that statistic!

Include a catchy image that mentions matching gifts on your “Ways to Give” page and on your donation confirmation page (you’re already three-quarters the way to victory, since they’ve already made the initial donation), to get the attention of your donors. Because many donors simply don’t know about matching gift opportunities, it’s a simple and effective way to increase the amount of money being brought in through corporate giving programs.

Meals on Wheels of San Francisco includes Employer Matching Gifts as a subsection of their Ways to Give page. When someone clicks on Employer Matching Gifts, they see a catchy image inviting donors to check to see if their employer will match their gift as well as two short paragraphs describing how easy it is for donors to get their gifts to the nonprofit matched.

Volunteer Opportunity Pages

Most nonprofit organizations also offer the opportunity for constituents to volunteer, whether it’s skill-based volunteering or hands-on help at events. Using these pages to promote volunteer grant programs is another great way to utilize your digital savviness to increase fundraising dollars.

While the number of corporations offering volunteer grant programs as part of their corporate philanthropy isn’t as high as the number offering matching gift programs, there is still a large amount of money being unclaimed by nonprofit organizations via their volunteers.

When an employee of a company volunteers with an eligible nonprofit organization, there is the opportunity for that employee to submit a volunteer grant request, which come in two different forms. Some companies require employees to volunteer a certain number of hours before they can request a volunteer grant (for example, if an employee of Best Buy volunteers 40 hours in one year, Best Buy will provide a $1,000 monetary grant to the same organization). The other type of grant is when a company will pay a per hour rate. For example, if a Capital One employee volunteers with a nonprofit organization, Capital One will pay $1 per hour volunteered.

Again, the biggest obstacle for a nonprofit organization trying to receive donations via volunteer grant programs is the lack of knowledge on the constituent’s level. Use your website to educate your volunteers! Include pictures, fancy buttons, and simple text that promote corporate giving programs to your followers, and simply ask them to check with their companies about these kinds of opportunities.

The Colon Cancer Alliance shows off a variety of ways to get involved with the organization through an easy to navigate page that includes each type of opportunity.

By making some simple edits to your organization’s website, you can increase your fundraising totals. Matching gifts and volunteer grants are great programs that many people just don’t know about (or if they do, they think they are long, tedious processes, and that’s just not true).

Use technological tools to educate your constituents about the easy-to-do aspects of these requests (most companies offer online corporate giving requests!) and the immense benefit your organization will see from increased funding. Again, once your organization has the volunteers and donors, you’re more than halfway toward increased funding. Just ask them to take the extra step (and of course, do it with flair), and they’ll be likely to oblige.

No matter the size or tech-savvy of your nonprofit, there’s something out there that will undoubtedly be a game-changer for your organization’s social media efforts. It’s not a fancy new tool or a fun new hashtag sweeping the meme-sphere. The best kept secret of the social media world is: A volunteer.

This is not to say that volunteers are a magic cure-all for your social media woes. Engaging volunteers to help with social media at your nonprofit comes with its own set of very real risks – but the rewards make it more than worth it. You just have to know how to minimize and prepare for these risks so you can maximize the rewards. Here are some examples:

Risk: Attrition

You took the time and effort to recruit a great volunteer with the skills and experience to take your organization’s social media program and run with it. Problem is, after three weeks they decide they can’t give you ten hours per week, or they find a full time job and now you’re back to square one.

How to prepare: To keep volunteers working with you long term, make the expectations of the role clear from the get-go, answering big questions like When, Where, How, with Whom, etc.

Another important way to keep great volunteers around is to track their impact, measure results, and adjust when necessary. By treating a volunteer project like any other program at your organization, your volunteer will recognize the importance and stay committed.

Finally, show your volunteer that you appreciate him or her! Recognize his/her contributions with words, with perks, and with warm smiles.

Reward: You’ll have a dedicated volunteer who knows your organization almost as well as you do, who can operate semi-autonomously, and who increases your capacity at little cost to your nonprofit.

Risk: Brand Drift

Your volunteer might not realize that you only use the word “nonprofit” vs. “non-profit,” that you refer to your clients as “partners,” and that you only use certain shades of red in your graphics. Suddenly they are representing your organization in a way that drifts from the main vision your overall communications strategy has set forth.

How to prepare: Provide comprehensive and clear training for your volunteer about the policies and practices at your organization. Additionally, be sure to maintain open, two-way communications so he or she can come to you with questions and incorporate your constructive feedback graciously.

Reward: Working within the brand guidelines you set out, your volunteer will be empowered to add his or her own voice to your social media personality, and lend greater creativity in a field that depends on it for success. And you won’t have to spend so much time editing everything your volunteer drafts.

Risk: Loss of control

Your volunteer decides to use your Twitter handle to start a fiery discussion about Obama’s fiscal policy – despite the fact that you are a non-partisan environmental agency.

How to prepare: Loss of control on social media is scary but necessary. Providing very clear guidelines for your volunteer regarding what is fair game and how they are authorized to use your accounts will minimize a lot of risk.

Make sure your nonprofit has an established crisis management plan in case your social media messaging goes awry. And finally: take a deep breath, and let go.

Reward: Setting your volunteer up to have ownership over your social media accounts will tie him or her more closely to the work. Your volunteer will proactively engage his or her own network and energetically build yours.

Real-Life Examples

At VolunteerMatch we work with interns to increase the capacity of our online communications program. The key for us has been keeping our program flexible so we can mold it to what each intern is looking to achieve. We’ve seen real success with allowing interns to run their own social media campaigns, such as our #WhyIVolunteer Photo Contest.

Even more impressive than our own engagement of volunteers for social media is that of other organizations in the VolunteerMatch network. Search “social media” on VolunteerMatch.org, and you’ll get hundreds of opportunities to help, most of them virtual. So maybe the secret’s out, as more and more organizations realize the value of volunteers for their social media goals.

Short Version: Tips to Take With You

To send you on your way, use this set of tips to minimize the risk of engaging social media volunteers, and to maximize the rewards for your organization, your volunteers and your community as a whole:

  • Set clear expectations.
  • Provide comprehensive training and orientation.
  • Maintain constant, open communications.
  • Allow a certain amount of ownership over projects and accounts.
  • Take a deep breath, and let go.
  • Track, measure and adjust.
  • Appreciate your volunteers!

To recruit social media volunteers, don’t forget you can post a listing for free on VolunteerMatch.org.

Note that this article is part of the “Risks and Rewards” March, 2013 issue of NTEN:Change. Send your executive director, board, and leadership staff to nten.org/ntenchange to read the entire issue, and subscribe to this quarterly journal for nonprofit leaders!

If a nonprofit or charity truly values the time of their volunteer, why is there pressure on managers of volunteers to increase the number of hours volunteered continually, without a correlated look at what outputs are generated with those hours. “How many hours did we get from volunteers?” is the wrong question, but sadly, it’s the one on which the sector is currently focused. The right question is “What is the relationship between the number of hours of volunteer time that we consumed related to the value of what we accomplished?”.

Consider the information below about a hypothetical nonprofit.

Year 1 2 3 4
Number of Volunteer Hours 100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000

In most of the organizations with which I have worked, the reporting that is requested from volunteer managers focuses on reports such as those above and in almost all of them, the manager would be considered to be failing in her job: the numbers of volunteer hours went down every year. In many cases, those hours are looked at as time that would have had to have been paid for or as associated with services that would not have been delivered had the time not been volunteered. Both can be false assumptions.

What if we add more data to the picture. (Assume for now that all this organization does is plant trees.)

Year 1 2 3 4
Number of Volunteer Hours 100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000
Trees Planted 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000

It turns out this volunteer manager has been doing a great job and should be congratulated for accomplishing more with less. How did she do it? Maybe she had been over-scheduling in the past and got better at it with more experience. Maybe she provided her volunteers with training and they were then able to plant trees with greater ease and therefore planted more trees per hour. Maybe she bought better shovels.

The point is that from a resource management perspective, year 4 is far better than year 1. When the right question is not asked, the answer leads us astray.

Some of you might have raised your eyebrows on “bought better shovels”. If you did so because you recognized that the cost of those shovels needs to be included somehow in this analysis, pat yourself on the back: you are correct. (If however, you did so because you thought it was wrong to spend money on better shovels when you had the option of letting volunteers work inefficiently since they are “free”, get someone to kick you in the back-side.)

I believe that if we truly value the time of our volunteers, we should operate under the premise that we are spending their time, just like we spend cash. And, similarly to how we spend cash, we should spend as little of it as needed in order to accomplish our mission.

This relates to the principle of Scarce Resources. The important element of the principle of Scarce Resources is not that something can’t be found, but rather, that a consumable resource can only be used once. A single dollar cannot be used to make two separate purchases and person cannot volunteer the same hour in two different places. That we must choose how to spend that dollar and we must choose how to spend that hour demonstrate the similarity between the two. As they are similar in nature, we should treat them the same: Consume as little as possible to achieve your mission.

I recognize that sometimes money is harder to come by than volunteer hours, so the option to purchase the “better shovels” might not always exist, but that does not break down the rationale of looking at volunteer time as something we spend and should try to minimize. Scheduling of volunteers in a manner that better aligns with needs and providing volunteers with better training can reduce the number of hours consumed with little or no increase in cost.

Simple financial reporting is a lousy management accounting tool – even more so in nonprofits

The adoption of the approach above can not only lead to more efficient consumption of volunteer resources, it opens the door to better management across an organization as a whole. Financial reporting by nonprofits only tells a portion of the story. By their nature, nonprofits more or less break even each year. The dollars spent are equal to the dollars they take in.

The following table represents the essence of financial reporting in the nonprofit sector (albeit simplified). It shows the two years of an organization as working at similar levels financially in that they both have neither a profit nor a loss, but are seemingly underperforming on donations/revenue in year two.

Year 1 2
Donations and Fees for Service ~$1,000,000 ~$800,000
Expenses ~$1,000,000 ~$800,000
Difference $0 $0

Let’s look at how these two years compare if we add something new to the reporting.

Year 1 2
Donations and Fees for Service ~$1,000,000 ~$800,000
Expenses ~$1,000,000 ~$800,000
Difference $0 $0
Trees Planted 20,000 20,000

All other things being equal, Year 2 has clearly outperformed Year 1, since the same job got done while consuming fewer resources. If these were two different organizations rather two years of the same organization, to which one would you rather make a donation?

The financial records alone would not have demonstrated the differences in performance between these two years; in both years, the organization ran a balanced budget.

The path to the right answer begins with the right question

Because of the arithmetic simplicity of both of the examples above, we can intuitively see which year had the better performance. The application of this in real world, however, needs some means of comparing the data along some similar element. The return on investment formula,

ROI = (Inputs-Outputs) / Outputs,

provides us with that common element. Key to this methodology are three things.

  1. The value of volunteer time is treated as an input, along with cash expenses
  2. The outputs must be tracked and we must place a value on those outputs
  3. The outputs must be in line with the outcomes associated with the organization’s mission

For some organizations, putting a value on the outputs can be fairly easy, while in others it can represent the biggest challenge in putting this model into practice.

For organizations whose outputs are similar to something in the for-profit sector, a monetary value for these outputs is easy to derive: use the same value the commercial sector uses. If your nonprofit does tax returns for people who need help with them but can’t afford it, use the price you would have to pay if you went to a commercial service for one.

In other situations, putting a dollar value on something such as a friendly visit in a hospital is more difficult, although it is possible (although outside the scope of this article). Where it is deemed that actual dollar values simply cannot be placed on the outputs of your organization, the ROI model can still be used but the results have to be looked at slightly differently because dollars are used to value inputs and something else is used for outputs whereas the equation is designed to compare apples to apples.

Rather than place a dollar figure on each output, place a Mission Points value where the various Mission Points assigned to the various outputs indicate the relative degrees to which each one contributes to your mission.