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9 Things You Should Know About Volunteer Satisfaction Index (VSI) Survey Questions

Assessing the experience of volunteers is a vital part of the effective leadership of nonprofit organizations. Providing an outlet for the voice of the volunteer is key to developing programs unique to their needs. Just as organizations use employee surveys to gauge worker attitudes and the voice of the customer, the measurement of the unpaid volunteer is also unique.

While the measurement of the volunteer experience does get assessed in many nonprofit organizations, it is generally done so with measurement tools that are not grounded in the same rigor of development as those used to measure other stakeholder voices. Volunteer satisfaction continues to get measured with a variety of instruments and tools. Some have measured it using tools from the paid work context, others have created their own home-grown surveys for in-house use, while still others have acquired satisfaction questionnaires from third-party sources that have not been scientifically validated.


Infographic of information about the VSI

I thought it would be fun to make an infographic about the development of the Volunteer Satisfaction Index (VSI) for this week's blog post. April is National Volunteer Month after all! Here are nine things I really think you should know about the Volunteer Satisfaction Index survey questions.

#1 The Volunteer Satisfaction Index survey questions were developed specifically for the unique context of volunteerism.

#3 At the time of it's development, there were only a total of 16 articles that had been written specifically focused on volunteer job satisfaction.

#4 The initial construct of the VSI proposed a construct that had five elements; the survey contained 39 items.

#5 From the data analysis emerged four distinct, reliable and valid dimensions of volunteer satisfaction.

  • Empowerment

  • Group Integration

  • Organizational Support

  • Participation Efficacy

#6 Each of the four subscales reported greater than acceptable Cronbach's alpha scoring, a measure that denotes the internal consistency, or reliability, of the scales.

#7 The Volunteer Satisfaction Index has received further validation by other researchers. In 2010, the VSI was validated at the University of Hong Kong and in 2021, the VSI was further validated at the University of Novi Sad.

#8 The VSI has been adapted and used in many different volunteer settings around the world for almost 25 years. Publications have reflected at least six nonprofit sector settings.

#9 The Volunteer Satisfaction Index has been cited 364 times to date. And that number is growing steadily. The Serbian validation study published in 2021 brought with it a rekindled interest in its application. While I have always fielded requests from academic researchers wishing to use the VSI in thesis and dissertation work, the volume has increased quite a bit as of late. Academic researchers wishing to use the VSI may request permission to do so by completing the request form on the website.

The Volunteer Satisfaction Index (VSI), a foundational work in the measurement of the volunteer experience, continues to be a valid and reliable measurement scale for scholarly research around the world.

I am going to end this post with the exact same two sentences I wrote that ended the published article. They are as applicable and relevant now as they were when I wrote them 24 years ago.

"The VSI offers a means to gauge the overall satisfaction levels of volunteer workers in a way that is unique to volunteer environments. Given the importance of maintaining volunteer workers and the significant role they play in society, such information is critical to the volunteer organizations that depend on their contributions."

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Roseanna Galindo is Principal at Periscope Business Process Analysis and a champion for data literacy, the human experience in healthcare, and leaders of volunteers everywhere. Learn more about Roseanna and her blog, The Periscope Insighter, by reading the opening post, Venn The Time Is Right

Roseanna is available for training, keynotes, and executive coaching.

Visit for more information or click on the button below to schedule a time to talk

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