Converting good intentions in to greater impact

Nonprofit Case Studies

Nonprofit Case Studies

As a way to inspire and inform new thinking and practice, one of the strategies of Reimagining Service was the development of case studies featuring successful approaches to strategic volunteer engagement. We hope that you'll share these resources with your network.

  • Literacy Network (August 2014)
    For over forty years, the Literacy Network, based in Madison, Wisconsin, offers a range of literacy programs for adults and families. With over 1,000 volunteers serving on an annual basis, including many skills-based volunteers, the organization has been hard at work in developing and redesigning some of its volunteer engagement practices: the development of detailed position descriptions, recruitment methods that target skills-based volunteers, and professional development for staff. This case study explores each of those practices in greater detail. A summary is also available.
  • First Graduate Case Study (December 2013) 
    The organization, an in-depth college access and success program for students from sixth grade to college, fundamentally rethought how it operated, valuing volunteers and volunteer hours on the same footing as fundraising. It learned that just about anything it needs can be done by volunteers—at its core, this requires seeking out opportunities for synergy with corporate partners and thoughtful, strategic integration of volunteers into programs. A summary is also available.

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico Case Study (December 2013)
    More need. Fewer resources. Stressed staff members. For many organizations, this is the new normal. Others are redefining normal, especially in the ways they engage their volunteers, and they are transforming their organizations into service enterprises in the process. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico is one such organization that is engaging all of its team members – paid and unpaid – to better serve families with ill children. A summary is also available.
  • Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado Case Study (November 2013)
    Care and Share is a nonprofit that aims to reduce discrepancy between food abundance and hunger for those populations that struggle with food insecurity in Southern Colorado.  The organization faced a strong surge in demands for services and a dramatic increase in volunteer interest.  The case study looks at: how does an agency simultaneously leverage these two opposing forces to achieve impact? A summary is also available.
  • TESSA of Colorado Springs Case Study (November 2013)
    Throughout the organization’s history, the work of volunteers has served a critical role in TESSA of Colorado Springs’s service delivery on building a community without domestic and sexual violence. Where TESSA of Colorado Springs stands out in today’s volunteer engagement landscape is in the organization’s notable commitment to improving and deepening volunteer engagement in recent years. This commitment is driven by the organization’s leadership team and board of directors, yet manifests itself throughout all levels and departments of the organization. A summary is also available.
  • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Case Study (October 2013)
    Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Case Study features true integration between volunteer engagement and organizational mission. Volunteers provide the equivalent of 22 full-time equivalent staff, thus substantially raising the capacity of the organization by $600,000. The case study also dives into the organizational structure for volunteer engagement and highlights a challenge going forward. A summary is also available.
  • Miriam's Kitchen Case Study (October 2013)
    Miriam’s Kitchen is in the process of leveraging its unique, committed volunteer base, to empower them to become advocates—thereby driving its mission in new and creative ways for little cost. A summary is also available.
  • El Centro de la Raza Case Study (September 2013)
    El Centro de la Raza, a nonprofit in Seattle, Washington, has made a strong commitment to engaging different types of volunteers – skills-based, college age, traditional – and has positioned this human capital resource at the forefront of its social-justice movement. A summary is also available.