The New Volunteerism Project

The Archival Collection of
Ivan Henry Scheier


Section XV

Checklists -- Evaluation

June 1999


The page #'s refer to the pages of the "New Volunteerism  Project: The Ivan Scheier Archival Collection."
Five bound volumes placed in the Reference collection of the
Dayton Memorial Library at Regis University
Table of Contents Page #
Introductory Notes
Interim Work-Up on Checklist Evaluation File
Reflections and Comments from a Trainer’s Perspective
"The Basic Feedback System" @ 1-62
"Building Your Own Evaluations" 63-66
....Perspectives On Volunteers
....The Reasons That I Volunteer@
.....Priority Goals for Your Volunteer Program@
....Volunteer Program Mythology@
....Some Suggested Components In A Volunteer Policy@
"Building Your Own Evaluation" and "The Evaluator’s Checklist"

In the spirit of the Basic Feedback System, these were attempts to help non-specialist do their own evaluations – especially important since outside evaluators were often too expensive for the smaller, growing programs that particularly needed that function.

....Building Your Own Evaluation:A 12-Step-Process @
....Things the Evaluator Needs to Evaluate, For Planning @
"DOVIA-Strengthening Checklist" 67-69

As one way of supporting professional coordinators of volunteers (see Sections XII and XIII) this checklist efforts was part of an attempt to help leaders of local professional associations (the most frequent name of these was DOVIA) improve their associations.

"Earning Your Own Way" @ 70

The "Earning Your Own Way" checklist is also in Section XI on ‘Feasible Fundraising, and especially important for grassroots organizations, including DOVIAs.

"Volunteer Administration: An Emerging Misnomer
"What’s In Our Name" @ 71

The "What’s In Our Name" survey was used in one of several studies designed to better understand role shift and its implications for the coordinator of volunteers. At present, I have a family large background file on this study.

"Guidelines and Standards For the Use of Volunteers @ 72-66

In Correctional Programs" (only bibliographic information included)

"Self-Assessment System for School Volunteer Programs" @ 77-189
.

@ -- permission for use-with-acknowledgment
-- Appropriate permission must be secured from the publisher for re-publication


 Introductory Notes on Checklists-Evaluation
Ivan Scheier
June 1999

I continue to agree quite well with the 1997 notes attached from two years ago, after a first review of this file. But as of today, I’m more inclined to let these checklists be included out of primarily historical interest. They must surely be out of date in many respects and they tend to concentrate more than I would currently like to, on volunteer programs in agencies.

(More incidentally, I am sure the 17 or 20 or ? enclosed checklists aren’t all of them.)

In my opinion, the person who know most about these checklists is Nancy Hughes, Trainer and Consultant, 210 Sylvia Way, San Rafael, CA 94903-3144, Tel. (415) 479-9316.

"The Basic Feedback System" @
Note the note on this, and remember, the checklists were under development for a number of years before this publication. Along with "Using Volunteers in Court Settings" and "Staff/Volunteer Relations," this was the most popular publication I ever had a hand in (though Bobette Reigel did most of it). I believe people liked the handy way to understand and check themselves on basic principles and guidelines in a subject area.

"Building Your Own Evaluations" and "The Evaluators Checklist"
In the spirit of the Basic Feedback System, these were attempts to help non-specialists do their own evaluations – especially important since outside evaluators were often too expensive for the smaller growing programs that particularly need that function.

"DOVIA-Strengthening Checklist"
As one way of supporting professional coordinators of volunteers (see Section XII and XIII) this checklist efforts was part of an attempt to help leaders of local professional associations (the most frequent name of these DOVIA) improve their associations.

"Earning Your Own Way"
This checklist is also in Section XI on ‘Feasible Fundraising,’ and especially important for grassroots organizations, including DOVIA’s in ‘Strengthening Checklists’ above.

"What’s In A Name?"
This survey was used in one of several studies designed to better understand role shift and its implications for the coordinator of volunteers. At present, I have a fairly large background file on this study.


INTERIM WORK-UP ON CHECKLIST EVALUATION FILE

New Volunteerism Study,
August, 1997 ... by Ivan

It's by far the most huge of the categories perhaps in part reflecting my early background in test construction and survey work. There are twenty checklists though they are best reduced by three to seventeen (because two are really variations on the same checklist and two others are close-to-could-be checklists but not there yet). I'm by no means am sure each checklist should be counted as a "method"; perhaps it's better understood as an "approach" to working in a subject area (see later).

Seven of the seventeen are currently accessible in published form; about two-thirds were published at one time or another. In any case, especially thanks to recent material from Nancy Hughes, I have significant to substantial background material on all of them.

Six or seven relate to other categories in the new volunteerism study, but all relate clearly to some aspect of volunteerism. The diversity of coverage is quite marked; there seems to be no single category in volunteerism that more than a few of them fit into.

The first seven of them were published twenty years ago (1977) as part of the Basic Feedback System, and more have been developed and published quite regularly ever since-the latest earlier this year.

They have always been very popular with practitioners. The Basic Feedback Systems booklet was the "best seller" NICOV ever had. The Expansion Checklist presentation last year in GRAPEVINE, asked if people would complete the check- list and send me a copy. Sixty-five did so-a quite remarkable return in my view.

Two distinguishing features have been:

1) the existence of norms (to go from raw scores to percentiles) on six of the earlier checklists and a couple of the later ones as well. .

2) The emphasis, again especially in the earlier forms, on having all the stakeholders represented in results. See Basic Feedback systems especially on this point; indeed where else has there been much or any emphasis on a client feedback form.

Early on, the emphasis on presentation was as an integrated system for relatively non-technical but useful feedback on a volunteer program (along with some other material on evaluation I used to present, now lost). As the years went by, however, I used the checklist largely as a (usually) motivating introduction to a subject area. Thus, DOVIA members and leaders would be asked to take the DOING DOVIA RIGHT checklist, then seek consensus on success practices in the checklist which a) DOVIA wasn't doing now b) had interest in doing and c) which were feasible to do. From there to an action plan.

Finally, the checklist average results for groups were used as a basis for relatively primitive "survey research" on the state of the art in a subject area. These results were then quite often published and our study material will have samples of those publications.

Needed now? As I see it:

1) At least some of the surveys clearly need updating in language and content, and generally, more careful re-construction (assuming we think they're worth preserving at all)

2) If we believe norms are useful, updating and increasing normative coverage.


Reflections and Comments from a Trainer’s Perspective

Ivan Scheier
Late October, 1997

You can roughly group the checklists into three categories:

STEP-BY-STEP How-to-do-it guides, rather than in any primary sense, gathering information. Examples would be the do-it-yourself guide to doing evaluations, the suggested components in a volunteer program policy, and the earning your own way checklist. Here, workshop participant interest, depends primarily on whether largely adjunctive to explanation of the method or methods embodied in the checklist.

GATHERING INFORMATION YOU DON’T DO MUCH ABOUT, AT LEAST IMMEDIATELY. The What’s In A Name Checklist is an example. It’s significant information and can lead to long term action responses, but it unlikely to do so in any short-term way. So, once again, interest in the subject area must carry the interest for the participant.

GATHERING INFORMATION YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT, IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

1) Insofar as possible the checklist should be one that the participant is vitally concerned about, as an individual or member of a group.

2) Have the participant(s) actually fill out the checklist. If the items are likely to need some clarification, discuss each question/item with the whole group, or at least invite questions on it, before asking the person to fill it out.

3) Almost always, the person "scores" her/himself and is not obliged to share results publicly – that is voluntary.

4) The Importance of the Comparative

a - relate to rough or refined norms insofar as possible

b - relate to scores other stakeholders or similar-situation people have on the same checklist.

c - relate to scores people with other status levels or perspectives have on a checklist covering the same subject for the same organization, e.g. different board members on the same board compare their independent-arrived-at results on the board checklist; top managers and rank-and-file people compare their results on the top management checklist, etc. sometimes, this is dynamite enough so you might want to do it yourself as a trainer, leaving the individuals anonymous who filled out the checklists involved in the comparison.

5) Generating an Action Plan. Start with a question/item(s) on which 1)there is a consensus low score (needing improvement) and which is also 2) relatively important and 3) feasible to do something about in the reasonably near future. From this item(s) evolve an action plan for improvement in the subject area.

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Ivan Scheier
Stillpoint
607 Marr
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, 87901
Tel (505) 894-1340
Email: ivan@zianet.com

For comments and editing suggestions please contact Mary Lou McNatt mlmcnatt@indra.com