Does anyone calculate and monitor volunteer retention rates? If so, does your volunteer software do the calculations for you or do you calculate them by hand? If you're willing to share your retention rates for benchmarking please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is one of those slippery slopes I think about often. How do you define "retention." Is it someone who continues to volunteer from one year to another, based upon how you define a year? Or do you look at someone who volunteered and completed whatever number of hours you require as "being retained" vs. someone who didn't is a "dropout" and goes against your retention rate.
So the big question is do we define "retention" based upon months or years of service, or do we define it upon hours served. And is that even a fair way?
It all goes into what do you consider a "successful" volunteer. One who stays for years and may now take more time that the time given, one who completes the hour requirement and moves on, one who comes in and has an immediate impact on your program but doesn't complete the number of required hours.
My numbers would be way different based upon which method was used, and I suspect most of us would be the same.
Let me know if you want to chat more about this.