Volunteer Monitoring: Questions to Guide Volunteer Management Professionals

Volunteer monitoring is an essential component of successful volunteer programs and fulfills a variety of needs. Talking to volunteers, youth and parents on a regular basis is an important tool for risk management and has been found to lead stronger, longer-lasting program involvement. These questions will help staff members in their efforts to monitor participation and manage expectations. If problems or concerns are identified, they can be addressed and resolved. Staff members should not ask each of these questions at each check-in, rather, they should determine which questions would best help them assess the quality of the relationship, identify concerns, and provide an opportunity for youth, volunteers, and parents to receive support.

Monitoring Questions to Ask Volunteers

  • How are things going?
  • How do you feel about being a volunteer? Are you having fun?
  • How can I help or support you?
  • What recent activities have you participated in with the youth you are working with?
  • How much time do you spend together and how often are you meeting?
  • How do you think your relationship is developing?
  • Do you talk on the telephone? If so, what do you talk about?
  • What have you learned from the youth you are working with?
  • Is there anything you would change about your relationship with the different youth you are work with, and if so, what?
  • Are there any challenges you are facing with scheduling, planning activities, accessing resources, etc.?
  • Do you have any concerns regarding the youth you are working with or his/her family?
  • How is your life outside of this volunteer role?
  • Talk me through the last three meetings you have had.
  • Have you had any major life changes of which the program should be made aware?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about the program? Do you have any suggestions for program improvement?
  • How do the youth you are working with behave when you are in public together?
  • What is the best part of your involvement with this program? What areas do you see for possible growth or development?
  • Have you noticed any changes in the youth you are working with (positive or negative)?
  • Have your expectations about your participation in our program changed at all? If so, why?
  • What do you have planned for your next meeting with youth in this program?

Monitoring Questions for Youth

  • Do you like your volunteer? Why/why not?
  • What has been your favorite thing about being in this program?
  • What is your favorite thing you have done together? Least favorite?
  • How often do you meet?
  • What can you teach the adults working with you?
  • What have you taught the adults working with you?
  • What activity have you not gotten to do yet that you would like to try?
  • Were there any times where you felt uncomfortable, nervous, unsafe or scared while participating in this program?
  • How would you describe the adults you work with in the program?
  • What did you do during your last meeting?
  • If you rode in the car with an adult from the program, did you wear a seat belt? Were they a safe driver? Why or why not?
  • When you meet with your mentor, does anyone else join you?
  • Are you having fun in the program? Why or why not?
  • What is your favorite thing to do with your mentor and why?
  • What do you like most about your mentor? What do you like least?
  • Do you feel you are benefitting from being involved? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Would you like to continue with the adults you are working with?
  • Are you comfortable spending time with volunteers in the program?
  • Do you ever thank the adults working with you or show appreciation? How?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Is there anything else you want me to know?

Monitoring Questions for Parents 

  • Does your child seem to enjoy being in the program? Why or why not?
  • How does your child behave or respond after participating?
  • Do you have any concerns?
  • How do you feel about how this is going?
  • Do you have any questions or feedback for me?
  • Is there anything you would like us to share with the volunteer(s) working with your child?
  • Have you seen any marked improvement in the youth? If so, what?
  • What has the youth said about the program and adults he/she is working with?
  • Is there appropriate communication between the adults and yourself?
  • Are you communicating with the adult(s) working with your child?
  • Have you noticed any positive signs of change in your child? Have you noticed any negative signs of change?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns regarding the program? Do you have any suggestions for program improvement?
  • Do you have any court/foster care/school updates of which the program should be made aware?
  • Has your family experienced any major life changes of which the program should be made aware?
  • Are there certain topics/activities you would like the volunteer to explore with your child?
  • Are there certain activities/topics you would like the volunteer to stop doing with your child?
  • What is the best way to contact/communicate with you?

The bulk of volunteer management support should occur face-to-face or through phone calls. Provide positive reinforcement to volunteers, youth and parents and thank them for their participation. Make sure there is a “cooling off” period if individuals are very emotional. Consider the pros and cons of electronic communication (email, text messages, etc.) given the volunteer, youth and parent’s level of comfort and access to technology. Involve school/court/other contacts if appropriate.

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