Converting good intentions in to greater impact

Principles in Action

Principle 4: Returns on Your Volunteer Investment

By Brian Agnew, spring and summer 2014 Bank of America Service Leadership Fellow with Reimagining Service - Principle 4: In order to get a return, you have to invest. We recently surveyed Reimagining Service signatories, who support our four principles, to ask how they’re bringing Principle 4 to life; they offered examples and some recommendations. Through the process of becoming a certified Service Enterprise[1], the Community Food Bank team, including President and CEO Andy Souza, recognized that volunteers can also fuel the organization in other ways, boosting ROI. This emerging point of view, coupled with expansive growth for the organization, is raising questions about the type of investment needed for the volunteer manager position. One possible idea that Andy is considering in order to expand the organization’s volunteer engagement strategy is to elevate the classification for the volunteer manager position from a staff member in the programs department to a supervisor level, although it requires additional financial resources. It is an investment that Andy is betting will pay off.

Principles in Action, Principle 3: Principle 3: Recruit and Value Volunteers for Mission-Advancing Work

By Brian Agnew, spring and summer 2014 Bank of America Service Leadership Fellow with Reimagining Service - Focus volunteer engagement on true community needs. Nonprofits put substantial effort seeking financial resources to fill a high priority need, and this philosophy can also be applied to volunteer resources. An important step in this process is for the community, or in many cases nonprofits, to gain clarity on what is most needed for impact, and designing volunteer opportunities to reflect the need. Volunteer interests and/or availability should not drive the type of service provided; instead, community needs should direct the service provided and the “right” mix of volunteers should be recruited to fill appropriate roles.

Principles in Action, Principle 2: Moving Volunteers to an Organization’s Center

By Brian Agnew, spring and summer 2014 Bank of America Service Leadership Fellow with Reimagining Service - Reimagining Service recently surveyed over 300 individuals who have signed on in support of the four key Principles to find out how these principles have come to life in their organizations. Let’s start off by revisiting Principle 2: Make volunteering a core strategic function, not an add-on. Some of the burning questions we, at Reimagining Service, wanted to know more about: what types of changes were evident when volunteers became a more central source of capacity for an organization? We also wanted to know how an organization and its leaders shifted their mindset to make that change, the challenges they faced, and the results they’ve seen since.

Principles in Action, Principle 1: Collective Effort towards Greater Impact

By Brian Agnew, spring and summer 2014 Bank of America Service Leadership Fellow with Reimagining Service - Reimagining Service recently surveyed over 300 individuals who have signed on in support of the four key Principles to find out how these principles have come to life in their organizations. Let’s start off by revisiting Principle 1: The volunteer ecosystem is more effective when all sectors participate in its evolution. But what does Principle 1 actually look like in action? What are the practical benefits? What obstacles might an organization encounter along the way? What can be done to overcome these struggles and form better partnerships?