Service Enterprise Initiative ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

According to recent studies, dissatisfaction with the volunteer experience contributes to 1/3 of volunteers not returning.  Yet, volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non volunteersProviding volunteers with opportunities that take advantage of their skills and adopting best practices in volunteer engagement is critical, given the competing demand for volunteers across the sector.

The Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) is a national certification program designed by Points of Light to help nonprofits think strategically about how volunteers can be used throughout their organizations to help them  expand program operations and revenue, increase impact, and operate more efficiently.

Research conducted by the TCC Group and Deloitte found every $1 invested in effective volunteer engagement results in a $3 to $6 return on that investment.  The same research also showed that organizations with strong volunteer management are also significantly stronger in organizational management and performance overall.  Nonprofits participating in the Service Enterprise Initiative have access to:


A thorough research-based assessment of your nonprofit’s existing volunteer engagement practices based on ten characteristics.  The assessment or Service Enterprise Diagnostic (SED), contains tailored recommendations for improvement and provides the “benchmark” for nonprofits entering the training.


Twelve to 14 hours of training for a team of 2-5 people from your nonprofit to help them identify additional ways to engage volunteers throughout the organization.  Training is conducted in a cohort with teams from 2-3 other nonprofits, fostering peer learning.  Participating nonprofits will develop an Action Plan that identifies steps to implement to strengthen the organization’s overall volunteer engagement.


10 hours of coaching per nonprofit to help implement their Action Plan and other volunteer engagement best practices.  Coaching hours can be used for a variety of activities, including:  faciliating follow-up meetings, providing additional training/research on a volunteer engagement topic,  brainstorming ideas for skill-based volunteer opportunities, designing feedback/evaluation tools for volunteer engagement, and generating ways to help the nonprofit communicate how volunteers help the organization achieve its mission.


The table below shows the program cost, which is based on budget size and includes the assessment, training, coaching, and submission of certifiying application for nonprofits wanting to become certified Service Enterprise organizations.

<$500K                                        $150

$501K-1M                                    $300

>1M                                              $500

Recertification                            $150

Additonal/new staff training    $150


To learn more about the Service Enterprise Initiative, watch this video introduction or read about the research behind the Initiative.  You can also take the self-assessment quiz to help determine if your organization is currently functioning as a Service Enterprise and listen to Senior Services and Crisis Control Ministry talk about how Service Enterprise has helped their organizations.

This program is supported by a grant from the AmeriCorps Volunteer Generation Fund through VolunteerNC in the Office of Governor Roy Cooper.  

Apply here

For nonprofits near Durham and the eastern part of the State, please contact The Triangle Nonprofit and Volunteer Leadership Center to participate in Service Enterprise.

  • “The process of becoming a certified Service Enterprise organization has helped our whole staff team to examine the ways in which we interact with volunteers.  From this experience has come the creation of a team comprised of volunteers and staff who will reexamine our recruiting and training practices, for example.  We are grateful for the opportunity to become an even better organization for both our clientele and our volunteers.” Margaret Elliott, Executive Director
  • “Service Enterprise has helped us think more broadly and holistically about how we recruit, train, retain and recognize volunteers.  It has pushed us to consolidate our processes and become much more efficient and effective.” T. Lee Covington, President and CEO
  • Service Enterprise has encouraged us to take an inward look at our volunteer recruitment, on boarding and training to the point that we have revamped the application process, orientation and training to better meet the needs of the organization and the volunteers.”  Melissa Smith, Director of Innovation and Initiatives

For more information, contact the Program Director.