Research conducted by the TCC Group shows that organizations that strategically leverage volunteers outperform peer organizations on all measures of organizational capacity and have greater impact. These organizations, known as “service enterprises,” often deliver great results with fewer financial resources than peer organizations.
Points of Light launched the National Service Enterprise Pilot to develop the capacity of such nonprofit organizations to deliver relevant, comprehensive, and transformative training. Recently six United Ways and several other groups were selected to participate in the pilot:
- United Way Community Builders (an initiative of United Way North Central Massachusetts and in partnership with Massachusetts Service Alliance)
- United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer Center
- United Way of Dane County (in partnership with Serve Wisconsin)
- United Way of East Central Iowa (in partnership with the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service)
- United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties (also in partnership with the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service)
- United Way of York County (in partnership with the Maine Commission for Community Service)
United Way of King County has made strengthening volunteer engagement a priority for some time. Since 2009, United Way’s Volunteer Impact Partnership (VIP), an intensive volunteer management training and consulting program, has helped 83 organizations more effectively deliver services and recruit, use and retain high-value volunteers. Non-profits can participate through “VIP 360”, which helps build a roadmap for better integrating volunteers in a nonprofit’s work, or VIP Manager Corps, where the nonprofit gets a dedicated, pro bono volunteer professional for 10 hours/week for 10 months to help them implement the basic tools needed for good volunteer engagement. VIP is funded by United Way of King County and its services are provided by United Way staff and 501 Commons, a management support organization for nonprofits.
Across the board, VIP participants have reported improvements in volunteer management and organization operations, including reduced production costs and inefficiencies. They also have experienced more effective recruiting and organization of volunteers; a boost in volunteer satisfaction; an increased number of volunteer hours; an extended reach of their services in the community; and a heightened ability to accomplish their mission.
For example, Rainier Valley Food Bank is using a variety of volunteers and volunteer skills more efficiently. This has led to the food bank doubling its number of food drives and being able to hold new events to raise funds and awareness. Rainier Valley Food Bank has watched monthly volunteer hours increase from 800 to nearly 2,000, allowing the food bank to feed nearly 1,000 more people each month in 2011 than in 2010.
Imagine. 1,000 more people fed each month thanks to better volunteer management practices. There are many more examples like this one from United Ways and other nonprofits. Share your story with us, and we’ll bring you more stories from the United Ways involved in the pilot. Stay tuned to see what else effective volunteer management will bring.