Volunteer Survey Report 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009
Resource Type:
Research and Evaluation Instruments | Survey | Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops
Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Education and learning science | General STEM
Science Museum of Minnesota

From April 19 to June 15, 2009, volunteers had the opportunity to provide feedback on their volunteer experience and offer suggestions for improvement. The survey was initially only available as a web-based survey. Volunteers with email accounts were sent a link to the survey. Those volunteers without an email address were asked to contact Volunteer Services for a paper copy of the survey. Volunteers received an hour of volunteer time for completing the survey. Of the 369 active volunteers, a total of 144 filled out the survey for a 39% response rate (compared to 46% in 2008 and 41% in 2007). Fewer volunteers responded this year in comparison to previous years though multiple avenues for receiving feedback were offered. Response rates between 25% and 30% are considered good for mail and internet surveys, giving this study a strong response rate. Nonetheless, the decline in responses indicates a possible over-surveying of the volunteers through the annual and exhibit training surveys throughout the year. The majority of survey questions are similar to the surveys administered in 2007 and 2008, allowing for a comparison of responses. Each comparison is shared and discussed below. In addition, responses from volunteers to many questions were lengthy and detailed; separate appendices are attached containing all of the commentary provided by volunteer respondents to the open-ended questions on the survey. In the report, selections of sample responses were included after open-ended questions. The values provided in each table reflect how many volunteers answered that question. Principal Findings 1. Volunteers' overall rating of their experience at SMM in 2009 is slightly lower than both the 2008 and 2007 ratings. 2. Only two-thirds of respondents attended at least one training session in 2009, while three-fourths of all volunteers attended at least one training in 2008. 3. The Core Gallery and Volunteer Potluck trainings were rated slightly lower than the Special Exhibits and Museum-wide training sessions. 4. More than 70% of volunteers felt they were "prepared" to fulfill their duties because of the training they received. 5. Most volunteers feel that they receive "excellent" supervision and support from the volunteer department (76%) while fewer than half rate their experience with KAYSC staff (46%) as "excellent". 6. Most (88%) of the volunteers said they were "likely" or "very likely" to recommend SMM as a place to volunteer. 7. Three-fifths of volunteers (60%) indicated that they were aware of the Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC). 8. Over half (52%) of the respondents had no suggestions for improvements or exclusively positive feedback for the volunteer program. This is markedly increased from 2008, when only 20% of respondents fell in this category. The highest ranked suggestion for improvement was for staff to "be more present" (21%). A copy of the survey instrument used in the study is included in the appendix of this report.

Team Members

Sarah CohnEvaluator
Elizabeth WegeleElizabeth WegeleEvaluator

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