By appraisal, we mean the review of what has happened, in relation to set objective. By evaluation, we mean the experiences and learning of the individual.

Regular appraisal

On project-based volunteering, there are typically regular,  mid-term and final evaluations of a project. Traditional organisations favor annual or bi-annual performance reviews that are typically very comprehensive and take into account the totality of the individual’s contribution. More modern organisations tend to use quicker feedback loops to change behavior of people more dynamically. Regardless of appraisal context, the main question is still usually the same: have the objectives been met? In a majority of cases, the more frequently this question is asked, the better.

Personal objectives vs collective mission

Ideally, appraisal of volunteers should take into account the needs of both the individual and the collective mission of Scouting. Both of these should be in the interests of the volunteer and the institution he/she is volunteering for.  


Recognizing and celebrating successes

Appraisals are a great place to point out what has gone well and identify reasons for success. Ideally, this information could then be used to make sure that future volunteering efforts are also successful.

  • Pointing out the main successes.
  • Determining what things enabled success
  • Making sure that these learnings are documented and utilized
  • Deciding how to celebrate success
  • Celebrating success

Identifying areas for improvement

Equally important is to study areas for improvement and analyze, why some things were less of a success.

  • What has not gone well?
  • Determining reasons for failure or partial success
  • Making sure that these learnings are documented and utilized
  • Deciding how to recover from possible disappointments
  • Having a failure party

What happens after appraisals?

Typically appraisals and evaluations are used to re-calibrate targets or to set new objectives. Information gathered from appraisal and evaluation can also be used to decisions about suitable new roles for the volunteer. Ideally, this will support the job rotation and retention of volunteers
New forms of support can also be added based on appraisal result.

Subsequent target-setting

In mid-term evaluation, target setting methods such as backcasting can be applied to see what needs to be changed and what further actions are needed in order to attain desired objectives.


As always, it is important is to decide what we evaluate. Two important components that can be evaluated are the volunteering programme as a whole and the satisfaction of individual volunteer. When evaluating volunteering programme, the following indicators can be taken into consideration:

  • mission based evaluation – to what degree the programme helped to achieve the scout mission and the local association developing plan
  • number of volunteers
  • volunteering hours
  • length of the volunteering
  • scouts that benefited directly or indirectly from the volunteers work
  • value of the volunteer work that has been done transformed in money

All the indicators mentioned above can help to create a report that is easy to present also outside of the association and at the same time they can help you to get better volunteer support in the future

The evaluating the satisfaction of an individual volunteer, the following questions might be useful:

  • how has the volunteering experience met the expectations of the volunteer?
  • which skills, knowledge or attitudes did the volunteer develop?
  • what feedback and recommendation does the volunteer have for improving the volunteering experience in the future?

Complementary readings:

WOSM – Adult Resources Handbook / the 600 series (

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