Moving Toward a Collective Impact Effort: The Volunteer Program Assessment

Sheridan Trent, Kelly Prange, Joseph Allen


Volunteers are essential to the operation of many nonprofits, but some experience challenges in retaining their volunteer workforce. The Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) seeks to address this issue by helping organizations to identify strengths, growth areas, and recommendations for improving volunteer experiences. To maximize the effectiveness of VPA’s mission, the organization is moving toward a collective impact (CI) approach. Although not developed as a CI effort, the program currently exemplifies many of its characteristics, which have been instrumental in expanding reach to more organizations. We examine VPA’s alignment with collective impact and outline how VPA will continue to improve efforts.  


volunteerism; university programs; evaluation; industrial-organizational psychology

Full Text:



Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). News release: Volunteering in the United States—2015 (Publication No. USDL-14-0314). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved from

Corporation for National and Community Service. (2016). Research: Overview statistics. Retrieved from

Davis, M. H., Hall, J. A., & Meyer, M. (2003). The first year: Influences on the satisfaction, involvement, and persistence of new community volunteers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(2), 248-260.

Edmondson, J., & Santhosh-Kumar, P. (2017). It’s about results at scale, not collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review – Solutions – Collaboration. Retrieved from

Eisner, D., Grimm, Robert T., Jr, Maynard, S., & Washburn, S. (2009). The new volunteer workforce. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 7, 32-37. Retrieved from

Flood, J., Minkler, M., Lavery, S., Estrada, J., & Falbe, J. (2015). The collective impact model and its potential for health promotion: Overview and case study of a healthy retail initiative in San Francisco. Health Education and Behavior, 42(5), 1-15.

Fulbright-Anderson, K., Auspos, P., & Anderson, A. (2001). Community involvement in partnerships with educational institutions, medical centers, and utility companies. Aspen, CO: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Hanleybrown, F., Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2012, January 26). Channeling change: Making collective impact work. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 20(1). Retrieved from collective_impact_work.

Kania, J., Hanleybrown, F., & Splansky Juster, J. (2014). Essential mindset shifts for collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review 12 (4), 2-5. Retrieved from

Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2011). Collective Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review 9, (1), 36-41. Retrieved from

Nonprofit Association of the Midlands (n.d.). Retrieved from page=MissionValues.

Olien, J. L., Dunn, A, M., Lopina, E. C., & Rogelberg, S. G. (2014). Outreach to nonprofit volunteer programs: Opportunity for impact, improving graduate education, and an invitation to become a part of the Volunteer Program Assessment. The Industrial Organizational Psychologist 51 (4), 51-60. Retrieved from

Parkhurst, M., & Preskill, H. (2014). Learning in action: Evaluating collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review 12 (4), 17-19. Retrieved from

Points of Light: What We Do for Nonprofits (2017). Retrieved from /for-nonprofits

Prange, K., Allen, J. A., & Reiter-Palmon, R. (2016). Collective impact versus collaboration: Sides of the same coin OR different phenomenon? Metropolitan Universities, 27(1), 86-96. Retrieved from

Scales, P. C., Roehlkepartain, E. C., Neal, M., Kielsmeier, J. C., & Benson, P. L. (2006). Reducing academic achievement gaps: The role of community service and service-learning. Journal of Experiential Education, 29(1), 38-60.

Turner, S., Merchant, K., Kania, J., & Martin, E. (2012). Understanding the value of backbone organizations in collective impact: Part 1. Stanford Social Innovation Review – Solutions – Collaboration. Retrieved from backbone_ organizations_in_collective_impact_1.

Urban Institute. (2004). Volunteer management capacity in America’s charities and congregations: A briefing report. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute. Retrieved from


Copyright (c) 2017 Sheridan Trent, Kelly Prange, Joseph Allen