Service Enterprise Research

The Service Enterprise curriculum is based on an analysis of data from more than 600 organizations that took the TCC Group’s Core Capacity Assessment Tool. The TCC group found that 11 percent of these organizations were top performers in volunteer management and called these organizations Service Enterprises. They discovered these findings among Service Enterprises:

Service Enterprise forced us to become proactive in our volunteer engagement efforts rather than reactive. In less than 6 months, our Return on Volunteer Investment increased from $3.42 - $5.38

- Jessica Elbe, Northwest Compass, Inc.

  1. All organizational capacities are significantly and markedly stronger for nonprofits with a strong volunteer management model
  2. When organizations engage and manage any number of volunteers well, they are significantly better led and managed
  3. Service Enterprises not only lead and manage better, they are significantly more adaptable, sustainable and capable of going to scale
  4. Operating as a Service Enterprise requires strong and well-developed human resources management practices
  5. Organizations that engage volunteers are equally as effective as their peers without volunteers, but at almost half the median budget

Deloitte, Points of Light, Algorhythm and the RGK Center for Philanthropy at the University of Texas at Austin built on the TCC Group’s original research and identified the following ten characteristics as critical practices for nonprofit Service Enterprises. The SEI training and certification process are based on these 10 practices.


Today, research from hundreds of Service Enterprises shows that on average, certified organizations benefit from:

  • A 23 percent increase in volunteers annually
  • 2,700 hours of donated time from new volunteers, equal to 1.5 FTEs worth of labor
  • $63,000 in valued labor from additional volunteer hours
  • More than 80 percent of Service Enterprises report an increase in volunteers, including skills-based volunteers
  • More than 62 percent report an increase in volunteer hours contributed to their organizations.

Interested in learning more about the research on volunteerism, particularly the nonprofit service enterprise model? Check out these resources: