The AFS Volunteer Journey map is not a linear experience…

It is about paying attention to the various points of a volunteer life-cycle, which may be experienced in different ways by each volunteer. The map is intended to guide you through ensuring you take into account the different stages a volunteer may pass through.

How do I customize the Volunteer Journey
to improve the volunteer experience?

It’s not linear – it’s a MAP!

The Volunteer Journey allows you to focus on different stages of the volunteer experience.  You may decide to focus simply on the “learning map” stage of your volunteer journey program. You do not need to complete the entire journey at once.

Take it step-by-step! 

Why did we design the AFS Volunteer Journey?

The elements of this toolkit are quick to understand, simple to apply, and designed to help busy volunteers and staff make every effort to have the highest impact possible.

Studies by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and PayScale show that flexibility, belonging, interesting work and recognition are key to keep people motivated. The question is: Are we providing these elements to our volunteers?

What are the benefits of having an AFS Volunteer Journey?

We have mentioned the underlying benefits of transforming the AFS Volunteer Journey into a structured program: increased volunteer retention and satisfaction. But what does that really mean to the daily life of our primary stakeholder groups?

Partner Directors

  • Less time spent designing volunteer recruitment and induction activities, as these are part of the program.
  • Better control of the number of volunteers in the organization, their experience, and skills.
  • Rather than having volunteer recruitment and maintenance as a behind the scenes activity, a structured program is something you can advertise.

Organizational Development Staff

  • A defined set of guidelines for communication and volunteer recruitment activities.
  • It will be easier to describe to potential volunteers what it means to be an AFS volunteer and help them identify where they could fit in the organization.
  • Clear volunteer-career paths will provide an easier follow up of their experiences.
  • A structured renewal program allows for longer-term volunteer life-cycles.


  • Knowing what’s expected from them and what to expect from AFS.
  • Lasting and important relationships from volunteers with their local chapters and national office.
  • Possibility to select from different volunteer-career paths to tailor their experience.
  • Detailed training and mentoring through their experience.

Discover more resources of the Toolkit:

  1. Step 1: Learn how to engage new volunteers

  2. Step 2: Strengthen your local units in the Chapter Development Toolkit

  3. Step 3: Read the latest trends on Volunteer Development