Converting good intentions in to greater impact

Imaginings Blog

By Sarah Beaulieu, Senior Advisor, Opportunity Nation and Reimagining Service Council Member - We create meaningful ways for volunteers to engage with our work – it’s part of our organizational DNA. We think big, but ask for the specific things each volunteer is prepared to offer.

Posted by: Season
Post date: 04/11/2013
By Tony Goodrow, President of Volunteer2, which specializes in software to help you engage volunteers effectively and efficiently. If a nonprofit truly values the time of their volunteer, why is there pressure on managers of volunteers to increase the number of hours volunteered continually, without a correlated look at what outputs are generated with those hours?
Posted by: Season
Post date: 03/18/2013

By Jane Leighty Justis, The Leighty Foundation and Reimagining Service Council Member - As small foundations, we are always looking for leverage. Where and how can we invest our assets in ways that will produce the best returns? Will organizations we funded in the past survive these times of shrinking resources and growing needs?

We must encourage and support our grantees as they reimagine how to accomplish their missions with fewer resources. The effective engagement of additional volunteer resources is an obvious part of the solution.

Posted by: Season
Post date: 03/04/2013
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By Bonnie Andrews, Manager, Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee - We understand that volunteers are key to many nonprofits’ success, but how do we tell the story effectively, get organizational leadership support and the other sectors involved; knowing all of that is necessary for success. After checking websites, reading articles and talking with our peers in other parts of the country, it was clear that Kaira Esgate and Reimagining Service had all the pieces – the principles with the research to back them up; stories of effective engagement; and resources for both nonprofits and the corporate sector.
Posted by: Season
Post date: 02/14/2013
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By Jane Leighty Justis, The Leighty Foundation and Reimagining Service Council Member - We are faced with new realities. Our world continues to move deeper into economic instability, and needs are increasing exponentially. The time has come to support and strengthen volunteer engagement, which has proven to be a high impact, renewable asset if mobilized and used effectively.

As funders, we have the opportunity to support our grantees’ capacity to reimagine how they can unleash this natural renewable resource to accomplish their missions, strengthen their communities, and increase the return on our investments.

Posted by: Season
Post date: 02/05/2013
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By Mary Quirk, Executive Director, Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration - When I look back at volunteerism materials from 10 to 20 years ago, there are well articulated arguments for making the case on the value volunteers bring. What is different now is that we realize that we need not just powerful words, but also convincing data. What is to be gained from better measurement? Executive leadership will know why and how to invest in volunteer resources, funders will see how volunteer resources contribute to their goals, the role of volunteers on critical issues will be elevated, and volunteers will be better able to see the impact they could have. As a country, we have too many people that are hungry, homeless or lonely; too many environmental problems and more. Volunteers are a main resource for progress on these critical issues. Lack of awareness of their impact impairs using their full potential.
Posted by: Season
Post date: 01/21/2013
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This year marked the launch of The Civic 50, a national initiative led by the National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light, and Bloomberg News, to comprehensively evaluate the community engagement practices of the nation's largest corporations. The goal: to recognize those companies employing the most progressive civic-engagement practices, while illuminating the path for others to follow suit.

Measuring civic engagement is not an easy task. With input from a broad range of corporate, nonprofit, academic, and government leaders, The Civic 50 ultimately created a multi-tier rubric for assessing corporate practices and policies across a range of dimensions. True Impact was privileged to provide technical expertise and the web-based infrastructure to help translate The Civic 50’s rubric into a national survey and evaluation process.

Posted by: Season
Post date: 01/21/2013
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By Shirley Sagawa, Reimagining Service Council Member - A decade ago, that would be hard to imagine. Certainly mayors on occasion used the bully pulpit to call for civic engagement and enjoyed handing out Thanksgiving turkeys at soup kitchens. These traditional activities, however well-intended, fall outside the purview of what Reimagining Service calls a service enterprise – entities that target volunteers strategically to address high priority community needs. Then in 2009, Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to make New York City the first “City of Service,” creating a high-impact service plan and appointing the nation’s first Chief Service Officer, a senior city official dedicated to developing a citywide volunteer service plan to address priority city challenges. NYC Service, the unit of the mayor’s office charged with implementing this plan and measuring its results, engaged New Yorkers to participate in volunteer-driven initiatives that best fit their
Posted by: Season
Post date: 12/18/2012
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By Aaron Hurst, Reimagining Service Council Member - Donors Choose has become one of the most successful nonprofits in America. It is based on a simple idea: that teachers are struggling to get money for basic supplies and have creative ideas for bringing their subject matter to life that require just small sums. To achieve that success, the group didn’t have a vast staff. Instead, its founder, Charles Best, sought as much donated support as he could get. Technology professionals have given their time to help the group build a constantly evolving efficient marketplace for teachers and donors. Today, that same approach to using pro bono help is aiding the organization as it matures. Pro bono service accounts for over 20 percent of its budget. American Express, for example recently provided the group with a team of analysts to figure out how viable the DonorsChoose.org approach of matching donors and teachers would be over the long haul.
Posted by: Season
Post date: 12/01/2012
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By Jeff Hoffman, Reimagining Service Council Member - Often when one hears the term pro bono you think of a law firm. True, but pro bono service can be provided by most any business. In recent years companies have been using their intellectual capital to help solve some of society’s most pressing issues. The same intellectual capital that creates new technology, designs marketing campaigns or guides large workforces. Some call it skills-based volunteering, some call it pro bono. Sometimes it is on the clock and sometimes it is not. What is important is that more businesses are helping organizations be more effective in achieving their missions through brain power.
Posted by: Season
Post date: 10/29/2012
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