Step 5: Nurturing, Monitoring,
and Evaluating


The fifth step of the Success Cycle is a very important one and can influence whether or not you and your volunteers will enjoy working together. It can also influence how people will feel about volunteering in general and whether or not they will want to do so again. This step deals with showing appreciation to those who work on the project with you.

Recognition: Letting Them Know They Matter

All volunteers should be given recognition for their efforts. This doesn't involve financial rewards, but an acknowledgment by those who have received help and by those who know what a big difference the volunteers have made. The following list suggests some ways to thank volunteers.

Twenty Ways To Give Recognition to Young Volunteers*

bullet Make a suggestion box for workers.
bullet Print photos in the school yearbook.
bullet Recognize volunteers at school assemblies.
bullet Hold open meetings to discuss projects.
bullet Ask volunteers to serve as spokespersons at special observances.
bullet Provide transportation for your volunteers.
bullet Have a pizza party.
bullet Give volunteers additional responsibility.
bullet Encourage the news media to cover volunteer activities.
bullet Create a pleasant environment.
bullet Encourage volunteers to talk to others about their experiences with the project.
bullet Keep a record for community service recognition.
bullet Utilize volunteers as expert advisors for new projects.
bullet Celebrate outstanding projects and achievements.
bullet Nominate volunteers for awards.
bullet Provide volunteers with training to develop new skills.
bullet Recognize accomplishments of both groups and individuals.
bullet Award special citations for extraordinary achievements.
bullet Encourage participation in planning and evaluation.
bullet Remember to say "Thank you," "Good job," "We missed you," and other phrases that show your appreciation.

*Adapted from "101 Ways to Give Recognition to Volunteers," by Vern Lake, Volunteer Services Consultant, Minnesota Department of Public Welfare.

List three ways your project will give recognition to its volunteers.

1. ____________________________________
2. ____________________________________
3. ____________________________________

Evaluation: Monitoring Your Project

While you and your volunteers may feel very good about your project, you also want to know whether it has accomplished something. Evaluating the project can help you learn whether it has met its goals, but only if you decide up front what you want to evaluate and how you will go about doing so. The purpose of conducting an evaluation is "to answer practical questions of decision-makers and program implementors who want to know whether to continue a program, extend it to other sites, modify it, or close it down" (National Crime Prevention Council, What, me evaluate? Washington, DC: National Crime Prevention Council, 1986). You will want to be able to show that your crime prevention project does one or all of the following:

bullet Reduces crime.
bullet Reduces fear of crime.
bullet Is cost effective.
bullet Has a lasting impact.
bullet Attracts support and resources.
bullet Makes people feel safe and better about being in your school or community.

Performing an evaluation. There are many different ways to evaluate your project. You may want to conduct a survey of your target audience, asking whether or not certain conditions have improved as a result of your project. Compare the results with the results of your planning survey. What problems did the comparison show? Was the target audience satisfied with the results of the project? What could have been done better?

While your project is ongoing and when it is completed, you will need a way to check on its progress and see that it is reaching the basic goals you set. "Worksheet 5: Assessing Your Project," is a good tool for reviewing your project. The basic measures to use should go back to your goals and objectives. Was crime reduced in the school or neighborhood? Did you reach all the people in the neighborhood you intended to? Did your project reach the elementary school children you planned to instruct? Did they learn what you were trying to teach them?

What elements of your project can you measure to check your progress?


How will you measure those things? (For example, you might use reports, official records, interviews, personal visits, surveys, tests, and other methods.)


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Youth In Action Bulletin April 1998   black   Number 01