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 volunteers. Providing volunteers with opportunities that take advantage of different 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, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. SEI was designed to help nonprofits think creatively about how volunteers can be used throughout their organizations. By providing effective volunteer management and “reimagining” volunteer responsibilities to leverage their skills, nonprofits can expand program operations and revenue, increase programmatic impact, and provide more efficient operations. According to research, every $1 invested in effective volunteer engagement results in a $3 to $6 return on that investment.
Research conducted by the TCC Group and Deloitte found that the ten key characteristics below are common in Service Enterprise organizations:
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 their existing organizational volunteer engagement practices called the Service Enterprise Diagnostic (SED) that contains tailored recommendations for improvement.
- Up to 16 hours of training to help them re-imagine how their organization can engage volunteers.
- 10 hours of coaching to address unique organizational opportunities and challenges.
- National certification demonstrating the organization’s commitment to and proficiency in leveraging the time and skills of volunteers to meet the mission of their organization while incorporating best practices in volunteer engagement. Certification is valid up to three years and includes access to volunteer engagement networks and resources.
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. For more detailed information about the program, including the process, time commitment, and cost, refer to the HandsOn NWNC/Service Enterprise FAQ.
- “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
- “Becoming a Volunteer Service Enterprise has helped Crisis Control Ministry enhance and expand the roles of our volunteers in helping our neighbors and community. We now delve deeper to find and use the talents each individual volunteer possess.” Vicki Jones, Director of Community & Volunteer Relations
- “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.
A special thank you to the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service for grant funds to help offset the cost of this program!