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?
Service Enterprise Initiative
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.
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.
During a March 2016 Volunteer Summit hosted by New York Cares and NYC Service at UJA Federation in New York City, Paula Gavin, the city's chief service officer announced to a room filled with nonprofits that she wanted to increase the volunteer rate in New York from its current 18 percent to the national average of 25 percent by 2020. Attending this seminar was Points of Light’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Program Expansion Teri Johnson.