What is ROVI and Why Does It Matter to My Volunteer Program

ROVI. It’s a buzzword in the field of volunteer management that is often thrown out at conferences and in webinars but seldom explained. While it may sound like a good nickname for a dog, it’s actually a fundamental way to measure the success of your volunteer program.

What on earth is ROVI? And why do I need to know what it is?

ROVI stands for Return on Volunteer Investment.

Yes, we volunteer management professionals took a popular business acronym, added a “V,” and called it our own. Hey, we’re busy!

Essentially, your ROVI helps quantify the value your volunteer program is bringing in for the effort put out. This amount is expressed as the dollar amount that you would get in return for every $1 spent. Your ROVI is a good indicator if your volunteer program has been a fruitful investment of resources.

Why does it matter?

ROVI allows you to measure the value of your volunteer program, which is especially important in a time when most budgets are under scrutiny. Your ROVI is a crucial piece of your volunteer program annual report and gives your program credibility. A good ROVI helps you make the case to leadership for volunteer engagement strategies, please stakeholders, motivate existing volunteers, and recruit new ones.

How do you calculate it?

First, find your volunteer value by multiplying your total annual volunteer hours by the current value of a volunteer hour. According to Independent Sector, the present value of a volunteer hour is $25.43 as of April 2019.

Total volunteer hours x $25.43 = volunteer value

Next, gather all program expenses for the year. These costs include volunteer recruiting and recognition, staff salary and training, background checks, professional development, and a lot more. The total of all expenses is your program cost.

ROVI = (volunteer value – program cost) / program cost

Is there an easier way?

Yes! Enter your program data into Volunteer Benchmark, and it’ll automatically calculate your ROVI and economic impact for free, as well as let you know how your program stacks up against similar organizations.

How can you improve your ROVI?

According to Points of Light, Service Enterprise organizations see up to a six-fold return on their volunteer investments. If your ROVI is nowhere near this figure, don’t lose heart. Here are a few ideas to increase your return:

  • Focus on volunteer retention. If you are continually dealing with volunteer turnover, it’ll show in your ROVI. Try implementing strategies around volunteer engagement, onboarding processes, and recognition initiatives to keep volunteers from calling it quits.
  • Emphasize efficiency. If you don’t have a volunteer management system, now is the time to get one. A valuable volunteer management system automates your processes and tracks critical data to save your team valuable time and energy.
  • Track outcomes. By recording the non-financial difference your volunteers make (e.g., the number of trees planted or bags of trash picked up), you can tell the story about the impact being made and use that to gather support from stakeholders.

Offero is a complete volunteer management system designed specifically with local and state government organizations in mind. The cloud-based software saves staff members and volunteers alike time and energy with intuitive features like automated hour tracking, self-reported site visits with the ability to track impact-related measures, eLearning for onboarding and training, and highly-customizable reporting. To learn more, call (970) 377-0077 to talk to one of our Offero experts or visit offero.com.

Don't miss these stories: