Swimming in the Soup without Drowning

Let’s face it. You’re busy. Very. Between leading your nonprofit, working with your donors, taking care of your board and staff, and networking in the community, your schedule is intense. Yet, for a number of reasons you want to volunteer and the opportunities are plentiful. How can you decide which opportunities to pursue? This chart will help you rank different volunteer opportunities and select the best.

1. Desired Traits 2. Rating


3. Comments 4. Score


5. Score x Rating
Within a day trip of home or remote 5 Local 10 50
I will meet or work with donors 10 A key donor is in charge of this project 5 50
Our brand will be marketed in our donor community 10 Indirectly 3 20
I have a natural relationship with the organization 8 Yes, children in school 10 80
I will provide value and grow skills 10 Yes, they need info. about us to succeed; I will lead sessions in front of 200 people 7 70
I am passionate about the cause 8 Middle 5 40
The work fits my schedule/ I will invest time here anyway 5 Yes 10 50
6. Total Rated Score 360
7.Total possible score 560
8. Percent 64 percent

(Adapted from Alan Weiss, Qualifying System and Template)


1. Desired Traits. These are characteristics and benefits of the volunteer experience you hope to obtain. We provided one list. Your list of desired traits will include benefits most important to you.

2. Rating. How important is this trait to you? From one to ten, with ten being ultra valuable, rank each trait listed.

3. Comments. These are your comments about the specific volunteer opportunity. How much of the desired trait does it provide?

4. Score. Provide a numerical value, again on the one-to-ten scale, of the amount of the desired trait this specific opportunity offers.

5. Score x Rating. Multiply each Rating (how important is this trait to you) times the Score (the amount this opportunity provides)

6. Total Rated Score. Totalyour Score x Ratings.

7. Total Possible Score. Add all Scores together. Multiply them by ten. This is the maximum score that any volunteer opportunity will provide.

8. Percent. Divide the Total Rated Score by Total Possible Score.

Using the Scoring:

Ideally, all of your volunteer opportunities will earn at least 75 percent. Alternatively, by adopting the following decision criteria, you might ration the time you spend on high scoring opportunities,

1. Score above 80 percent, up to two weeks per year

2. Score between 70-79 percent, up to one week per year

3. Score less than 70 percent, one-time events or less than 5 hours per year

Bonus: Would a chart like this help you to evaluate different volunteer experiences offered by your organization?

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

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