Achieving the Extension Mission Through Volunteers Impact Study Summary Report – 2020

Equipping Extension Professionals to Lead Volunteer Systems: An Evaluation of an Online Course Kandi O’Neil, Rachelle Vettern, Sarah Maass, Rebecca Harrington, Kari Robideau, Patricia McGlaughlin, Josset Gauley

Extension professionals enter their role with content-specific expertise; however, experience in volunteer leadership and management competencies is often limited. This study focused on the effectiveness of the Achieving the Extension Mission Through Volunteers (AEMTV) course in preparing professionals to use the Identification, Selection, Orientation, Training, Utilization, Recognition, Evaluation (ISOTURE) model to learn and apply volunteer systems concepts in a cohort-based online learning environment. We used quantitative and qualitative methods to assess how the course impacted participants and the programs they lead. Data from 127 participants indicated they increased their knowledge, improved volunteer systems, and influenced the quality of programming delivered in communities. Our research confirmed that the ISOTURE model (Boyce, 1971; Dolan, 1969) continues to be an effective framework for learning and applying volunteer systems management practices. We recommend that Extension collaborates across states to formalize and create additional online professional development relevant to all program areas to elevate Extension’s impact nationally.

Implementing a Successful eForum – Jennifer Lobley, Harriett C. Edwards, Rachelle Vettern, Marilyn K. Lesmeister, and Steve McKinley

The National 4-H Volunteer e-Forum is an alternative to multistate, face-to-face volunteer forums. Building on the success of regional e-forums, a collaborative group planned and offered three webinars that were relevant, economical, consistent, and convenient to attend. A blended learning strategy can successfully be used for focusing on both volunteer and organizational needs when approached with intentionality. Extension can use this model broadly to develop better trained corps of volunteers. Data-driven recommendations are included for Extension professionals interested in exploring hybrid training options.

The Impact of Volunteering: A Multi-State Study of 4-H Youth Development Volunteers  – Samantha Grant, Sarah Maass, Rachelle Vettern, Rebecca Harrington, Kandi O’Neil, Patricia McGlaughlin, Tillie Good

Volunteers are vital to youth development programming as a key piece of the workforce. This evaluation measured the impact of volunteers in the 4-H youth development program and demonstrated the value volunteers bring to youth development environments. The north central region 4-H volunteer impact study was conducted with volunteers in the 4-H Youth Development program across 12 states. The purpose of the study was to better understand the value of being a 4-H volunteer. Results showed that volunteers personally benefited from their involvement in these settings by becoming more experienced at working with youth and by learning skills that transferred to other settings. Volunteers also served as guides for youth as they gained leadership skills and gave back to their communities. In addition, the Extension organization benefits included volunteer time, donations of money and supplies, and volunteers serving as ambassadors for youth development programs.

How Volunteering with Extension 4-H Youth Development Contributes to Public Value Kandi O’Neil, Rachelle Vettern, Patricia McGlaughlin, Rebecca Harrington ,Sarah Maass, Samantha Grant,Tillie Good

Volunteers add public value to the communities where they live and work leading to changes in community conditions. This study assessed volunteers’ beliefs about perceived public value in the Extension 4-H Youth Development Program (YDP). Research results document Extension

4-H volunteers take active leadership roles, which leads to public value in communities. There is a direct application of skills gained as a result of their volunteer experience. Results provide evidence of how volunteers make a difference building social capital in four areas: increased civic involvement, better-connected communities, stronger communities, and improved community health.

Contributions by 4-H volunteers not only make communities stronger; they benefit individuals beyond those involved in the 4-H program. Leaders are encouraged to further substantiate and communicate to stakeholders the public value of volunteer impact by assessing how volunteers contribute in public and private organizations throughout their communities.

Value of Assessing Personal, Organizational, and Community Impacts of Extension Volunteer ProgramsRebecca Harrington, Tillie Good, Kandi O’Neil, Samantha Grant, Sarah Maass, Rachelle Vettern, Patricia McGlaughlin

Extension volunteers demonstrate personal, organizational, and community benefits. Our group of Extension professionals in the North Central Region applied these three levels of benefit to gather quantitative and qualitative data in a comprehensive evaluation of volunteer impact. Survey responses were received from 2,978 4-H youth development volunteers in 12 states. A mixed-methods approach, such as the one we used, can provide Extension professionals with evidence to communicate the value of volunteer programs and improve their practice in volunteer systems management.

North Central Region 4-H Volunteer Impact Study Summary – 2019

Understanding What Rocks Their World: Motivational Factors of Rural Volunteers – Rachelle Vettern, Thomas Hall, and Mark Schmidt

In almost any setting we can think of in 21st Century America, it is not unusual to have representatives from four different generations living and working side-by-side. This fact, and a declining rural population, is forcing Extension agents everywhere to struggle to find and engage new volunteers in county programming. Extension professionals are searching for new ways to recruit and retain volunteers from all generations. This research informs the way educations can work with volunteers from different generations to engage them in Extension volunteering.

How Do Youth Adult Partnerships Impact 4-H Programs?  This study is a result of data collected from the planning and implementation of the 2007 North Central Region Volunteer Forum, hosted by Wisconsin. 79 youth and adult volunteers comprised the planning and implementation team in full youth adult partnership work.