Assessing Your Program's Needs

Once you have made a commitment to student volunteer leadership, you need to develop a framework for how the SVLs will fit into your national service program. Determining your program’s needs is a crucial step. As you define your volunteer engagement goals and objectives, consider your current program, how you want to expand your work, and how you can utilize volunteers in leadership positions.

Take time to think about these questions:

  • What are the goals of our national service program?
  • Are we able to meet those goals with our current staff capacity? Why or why not?
  • How do we want to expand the work we do in the community?
  • What types of volunteer projects do we want to undertake?
  • How can SVLs help us enhance our current work, take on new projects, and accomplish our goals?
  • What specific needs do we have that students can fulfill?
  • Can we offer a unique experience, something different from what is already offered on campus?

Define Clear Goals for SVLs

It is important to define clear goals and objectives for your SVL program. Equally important, your national service program must have the capacity (e.g., supervision, space) to support SVLs. Conducting a needs analysis will help you determine where leaders can be used most productively.

Click the link to download a Student Volunteer Leader Needs Assessment Worksheet you can use to assess your program's needs and define clear goals for utilizing student volunteer leaders in your national service program: SVLNeedsAssessmentWorksheet.pdf

Defining Major Needs

In your assessment process, outline specific program needs, the tasks involved, and the necessary support. Once you have identified the major needs, answer the following questions:

  • Is the need genuine or contrived?
  • Can we provide the essential support?
  • Will the benefits be worth the investment to train and support the SVL?
  • Would a student volunteer leader want to perform these tasks?

When you have reflected on these points, you can then begin to construct meaningful student volunteer leadership opportunities.