Service Enterprise  _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Volunteers are critical to the success and sustainability of nonprofits, yet studies show formal volunteering declined from 2019 to 2021 and many volunteers haven’t returned. Now, more than ever, attracting and retaining volunteers is essential for nonprofits to continue providing programs and services that meet critical community needs.

Service Enterprise (SE) is a national accertification program administered by AL!VE to help nonprofits think strategically about how volunteers can be used throughout their organizations so they can expand program operations and revenue, increase impact, and operate more efficiently while continuing to implement best practices for volunteer engagement.

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 Service Enterprise will receive:


A thorough research-based, online assessment of your nonprofit’s current volunteer engagement practices based on twelve characteristics.  The diagnostic contains tailored recommendations for improvement and provides the “benchmark” for nonprofits entering the training.


Approximately twelve hours of training for a team of 2-5 people from your nonprofit to help them identify new 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.

The training addresses topics including creating a culture of volunteer engagement; organizational change; identifying assets and roles volunteers currently fill; roles volunteers can potentially fill; creating processes that support effective volunteer engagement; determining ways to track and evaluate progress; and, calculating your organization’s return on volunteer investment.


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 facilitating follow-up meetings to track progress, 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 documentation for nonprofits wanting to become accredited Service Enterprise organizations.

<$500K                                        $200/organization

$501K-1M                                    $300/organization

>1M                                              $500/organization

Recertification                            $200/organization

Additional/new staff training  $200/organization

To learn more about Service Enterprise, watch this video introduction or read about the research behind the program.  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.

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, onboarding 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 or to participate in the program, contact the Program Director.