A 2017 Volunteer Screening Trends and Best practices report found that the #1 challenge non-profits face is volunteer management. Research continues to suggest organizations that effectively engage volunteers are better led and managed, more adaptable, and capable of going to scale.

83% of volunteers believe they could benefit from more infrastructure (training, resources, mentoring, support, recognition, and coordination). The tasks performed by AFS volunteers to deliver our programs and our brand promise require consistency and thus coordination.

What are we trying to solve?

Decreasing Program, Chapters and Volunteer Numbers

Overall volunteer engagement is changing: 30% of AFS volunteers stay for less 1 than 3 years and 20% for less than a year.

Isolated volunteer development efforts

How to streamline volunteerism as a program and professionalize a grass-roots service delivery model?

High turnover and lack of training

There is a 36% of staff turnover, and a lack of both required competencies and training for Volunteer Coordinators.


How are we going to solve these challenges?

We need a system to coordinate volunteers in charge of executing tasks that require consistency:

  • Where boundaries between volunteers and staff work are well delineated.
  • Where volunteer development staff is shielded from program operations.
  • Where training and support to volunteers is delivered at the local level.
  • Where coaching happens so local chapter leadership can deliver.
  • Where succession planning is in place so volunteer turnover is controlled.

Initial Results

100% of Pilot Partners

believe implementing the Volunteer Engagement System is the right direction and would recommend other partners to join the project.

AFS Chile Volunteers

Since our Volunteer Engagement Coordinator has joined we feel more empowered. Now we are a stronger and more confident team.

AFS Colombia Volunteers

Permanent follow-up ensures we are doing the right things and problems can be solved much faster. It became much easier to volunteer for AFS.

Discover more about the System:

  1. Background

  2. Volunteer Development Department

  3. Tools to Implement the System