Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area (AFNHA): Enhancing Assets to Benefit Communities is a multi-focus intermediary program where AmeriCorps members conduct public lands improvement and assessment projects, deliver environmental stewardship education, and provide volunteer management and capacity-building for the organizations where AmeriCorps members serve. Members treat 600 acres of public land, educate 2,500 individuals in stewardship, and reach 10,000 members of the public broadly, and manage 700 volunteers.
The goal of this study is to assess the effectiveness of volunteer management program interventions through a quasi-experimental design (QED). The QED compared differences and improvements in volunteer capacity completed by site supervisors with and without AmeriCorps members. Assessments were captured through a survey.
The research questions were:
- To what extent do community organizations with volunteer management support by AFNHA AmeriCorps members show differences in volunteer capacity compared with organizations that have not had assistance from AmeriCorps members?
- To what extent do community organizations with volunteer management support by AFNHA AmeriCorps members show improvements in volunteer capacity over time?
The evaluation found the following:
- AmeriCorps members were useful in managing volunteers for their sites, but their impact on the long-term capacity of the sites was less clear. Results were positive, but not statistically significant.
- The study found little evidence to suggest that members' volunteer management improved measured outcomes related to volunteer capacity over time.
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