Transforming Organizations and Their Impact Through Strategic Volunteer Engagement


The COVID-19 pandemic has created many new hardships for individuals, organizations, and communities locally and around the globe. One very effective solution to build additional capacity at organizations to address these hardships is the engagement of volunteers. However, the social sector continues to struggle with getting volunteer engagement just right by creating sustainable infrastructure for effective volunteer management. That’s where the Service Enterprise Initiative comes in. A transformational change-management approach, the Service Enterprise Initiative helps organizations gain a greater return on volunteer investment to better meet their missions by tackling tough questions like: How do we address myths or misconceptions about volunteers among our staff? How can we get more resources for volunteering and make our program more sustainable? How can we work with volunteers to do more with less? How can we provide the best volunteer experience possible?


The initiative is inspired by principles from Reimagining Service, a coalition of cross-sector leaders, researchers and practitioners that identified what was needed for effective volunteer engagement after the Serve America Act was signed into law in 2009 and it is now overseen by Points of Light, an international nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the engaging more people and resources in solving serious social problems through voluntary service. At its core, Service Enterprise transforms an organization’s culture so that it values volunteers as a significant part of its human capital strategy and overall organizational impact.


This initiative, implemented in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Service Alliance, has been called a “game-changer” for volunteer engagement and it has helped almost 100 Massachusetts nonprofits, schools and civic organizations re-engineer their operations to make volunteers more central, strategic and mission-driven. In the words of Sandra Rizkallah, Executive Director of Plugged In Band, located in Needham, “Service Enterprise has had a tremendous impact on our organization. Our operational infrastructure was transformed through this process – not only for volunteers, but for the staff and Board as well. Service Enterprise has brought our community together and provided a path to sustainability. With a more systemic, data driven and needs focused volunteer strategy, Plugged In Band can more easily drive our mission and meet the needs of young musicians looking to make positive change in the world.”


If you would like to learn more about joining the Service Enterprise Initiative, please join the upcoming Information Session on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm. To register for this event, please click on the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUrdeitrjMqE9AK3zkEPzqRm44C0Gtn7Qzz