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The Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA, pronounced vee-pah) is a cutting-edge and innovative volunteer assessment system. Developed in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, VPA is maintained by volunteers - both graduate students and faculty in the Organizational Science Doctoral Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and at our partner universities: George Mason University, University of Nebraska Omaha, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, and University of South Florida.
VPA strives to support the nonprofit community by providing scholarships for free volunteer assessment services that might otherwise be unavailable to nonprofit organizations and their leaders. The VPA is designed to promote nonprofit organizational effectiveness by focusing on the volunteer program as seen through the perspective of volunteers. VPA uses a comprehensive and validated volunteer attitudes and engagement survey to enhance the utility of organizations operating within the nonprofit context. While the VPA is not a comprehensive assessment of the entire volunteer program, it captures the voices of a key stakeholder group within non-profit organizations – the volunteers.
The VPA’s overarching vision is to help nonprofit leaders understand the strengths and weaknesses of their volunteer program, from the perspective of their volunteers, and to provide insights into the strategic management of their volunteer resources. Through the application of I/O psychology, the VPA offers the knowledge and expertise of its volunteers to local and national nonprofit organizations.
Requirements for Volunteers
All VPA volunteers should have an MA (or equivalent credits) or PhD in I/O or related disciplines. All VPA volunteers have working knowledge of volunteer management, volunteer engagement, and volunteer satisfaction. We provide learning materials. VPA members complete a three-stage training process before completing their first solo consultation. During stage one, each new VPA member shadows a current VPA member throughout an entire client process. In stage two, the new VPA member completes a mock consultation with a current VPA member. Finally, the new VPA member is matched with a client and is reverse shadowed by a current VPA member.
How to Get Involved
For more information about the history of VPA, the VPA process, our clients and partners, and additional resources for volunteer management, you can visit: http://vpa.uncc.edu/.
There are two ways of engaging in VPA. First, if you have a nonprofit organization you think would benefit from these services, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that there is an application process that each organization must go through. We respond to each incoming inquiry as quickly as possible, but there may be some wait time as our consultants are consistently working with clients.
If you would like to get your university/company/group involved and become part of the VPA team as a consultant, please email us at email@example.com or contact Dr. Steven Rogelberg, the director of VPA, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the inception of VPA in 2009, the VPA has been administered to over 100 different organizations. The VPA team has worked with many different types of organizations including animal shelters, volunteer police organizations, and arts and science organizations. The VPA team has also worked with clients from across the United States. Currently, nonprofits from over 20 states have participated in VPA, including but not limited to California, Colorado, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, Virginia, and Hawaii. In an effort to support our local community, the VPA team has also formed strong local partnerships in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.
The VPA process allows graduate students, practitioners, and faculty to get involved in community outreach while learning from each other and discussing and refining their consulting skills. The VPA process gives members a chance to apply their knowledge of Industrial and Organizational psychology to improve the overall effectiveness of volunteer programs across the country. By collaborating across universities and with many different types of nonprofit organizations, the VPA has been able to spread the word about the power of Industrial and Organizational psychology, while positively impacting the greater community.
The VPA team regularly updates the VPA norms report, which reflects the averaged responses from over 90 organizations that have participated in VPA. While it is important to interpret each VPA within the context of each individual organization, this report provides clients with a snapshot of an average non-profit organization’s “health” at the time of a VPA survey. VPA consultants provide each organization with a copy of the VPA norms report so that each organization can continue to analyze their reports after the phone consultation. VPA members strive to stay in contact with organizations that they work with and recommend doing a follow-up survey six months to a year after the original start date. By conducting a follow-up VPA, we can help you to assess how effective our recommendations and your changes have been at improving your organization.