Despite a surge of passionate leaders, the social sector continues to struggle with getting volunteer engagement just right while creating sustainable infrastructure for effective volunteer engagement. That’s where the Service Enterprise Initiative comes in. A national change-management approach, the Service Enterprise Initiative helps organizations gain a greater return on volunteer investment to meet their missions by tackling tough questions like: How do we address myths or misconceptions about volunteers among our staff? How can we get more resources for volunteering and make our program more sustainable? How can we work with volunteers to do more with less?
Nonprofit Capacity Building
Nearly a decade ago, we noticed a troubling trend in California: one out of every three volunteers was leaving their service site within the first six months of their experience. Simply put, California nonprofits were not providing solid recruitment, on-boarding, training and recognition of volunteers.
Nonprofits and government agencies’ ability to solve societal issues are often constrained by organizational capacity. When your roof is leaking, you focus on the immediate issue of repairs and may put off a much-needed basement remodel. The same can often be said for capacity building initiatives; they take time, resources and staff capacity that many nonprofit organizations don’t feel they have, even if it would pay off in the long run.
The nonprofit sector spends a lot of time agonizing over organizational strategy and how to meet mission with increased demand and fewer resources. Though volunteers seem like an oversimplified solution to the problem, through strategic volunteer engagement, they can be viable and, oftentimes, necessary assets to nonprofit capacity building.