By Sarah Beaulieu, senior advisor, Opportunity Nation; founder of The Enliven Project; and member of the Reimagining Service Council - One out of four women and one out of six men will be directly impacted by sexual violence in their lifetimes. Despite the fact that rape costs our country $127 billion per year - more than murder, more than drunk driving – it remains one of the most under-invested issues of our time.
The scale of the problem and limited resources has required anti-sexual violence organizations like the Boston Rape Crisis Center to use the most effective outreach and crisis response strategies available to them. This, of course, includes the effective engagement of volunteers.
By Season Eckardt, coordinator of the Bank of America Fellows Program, Reimagining Service - Similarly, the TCC Group discovered that there is a wide range of returns on investment from volunteers. The decisive factor is the level of adoption rate of volunteer engagement practices. For instance, if your organization engages 1-10 volunteers on an annual basis and you have a basic volunteer engagement model (at a 25% rate of adoption of volunteer engagement practices), you will receive a return of $1,000 on those volunteers. As your organization deepens and grows its practices up to the 75% adoption level, the return steadily grows to $3,000. This trend continues up to $10,000 of return. So, if your organization continues to invest in volunteers, you get more in return.
By Katie Fahey, Program Associate, Arts, Kenneth Rainin Foundation - The approach to the subject is exciting in that from the outset, TCC sought to highlight “positive deviants” – in other words, organizations doing things right when it comes to “Investing in Human Capital to Drive Greater Impact.” It makes me think of Helicon Collaborative’s Bright Spots work which serves to remind us that rather than asking ourselves, “What’s the problem?” or, “What are we doing wrong?,” it can be more productive to consider “Who are the models? And, “What is it that they are doing well?”*
By Jennifer Prats, Bank of America Fellow - As a Bank of America Graduate Student Fellow with Reimagining Service, the words “innovation” and “flexibility” have been recurring motifs throughout my experience. In the nonprofit world, with it’s shrinking resources, fostering innovation and testing new volunteer engagement practices is critical to doing more in a world with less. As a Fellow specializing in nonprofit issues, I have learned about new innovations and practices in the field and have been challenged to be innovative and develop new skills.
The meaning of resource generation is colliding with new realities, such as limited resources and innovation, thus creating an opportunity for a fresh definition. In today’s landscape, cash is not synonymous with resource generation- volunteers have to be a part of the equation. There is a thirst by people to serve as volunteers in meaningful roles, and cash is not as plentiful as it once was. But how does a nonprofit begin to expand its viewpoint on resource generation?
By Natalie Holmes, a Bank of America Fellow and a second-year graduate student at Georgetown Public Policy Institute - The volunteer ecosystem is more effective when all three sectors are involved, and strategic volunteer engagement has the innovative potential to benefit organizations across sectors—as the Forum’s expert panel attested. We need only be willing to think differently, take measured risks, and get serious about investing in this untapped resource.
We fully support the announcement of the White House-directed taskforce that will explore ways to expand national service through public and private partnerships with the aim of addressing government priorities.
By Nur Ibrahim, Executive Coordinator, Philanthropy New York - In early 2012, Philanthropy New York began working with Reimagining Service to bring its core mission and principles to our members, a mix of traditional grantmakers and corporate philanthropists. As stated in the blog by Gail Gershon of Gap Inc., that initial session generated robust conversations on the value of foundations investing in nonprofit volunteer capacity. Our subsequent meetings continue to focus on the importance of developing that capacity and engaging volunteers strategically. These meetings have highlighted three themes of successful volunteerism: 1) Empowerment, 2) Flexibility, and 3) Connection.
By many accounts, companies internally recognize the merits of volunteerism as it improves employee morale, facilitates leadership development and improves the recruitment and retention of top talent for the corporation. An area of opportunity, however, is for these firms to publicize not only the good work that they’re doing in their surrounding communities, but to also tout how engaging in volunteerism and creating social impact is also good for the company’s bottom line. I believe that Reimagining Service has the capacity to address this white space in the social impact sector and serve as an online portal for corporations and nonprofits to share their success stories and best practices with the world.
By Jeff Hoffman, Jeff Hoffman & Associates, Reimagining Service Council Member, and Points of Light Board Member - Business professionals and not-for-profit directors often have very different perspectives. There are inequities in power and differences in resources. Building a good working relationship is critical to success. Differences can be worked through by developing strategies, including setting clear expectations and goals, based on achieving mutually beneficial results. This is the description of, Partnerships That Work, the panel I moderated at the Business4Better conference last week.