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The Secret to Effective Nonprofits? Good Volunteer Engagement

June 25, 2010

Recent research is confirming what we’ve often witnessed at Volunteer San Diego: organizations that engage volunteers well are more effective than those that do not. Earlier this year, I had the chance to hear preliminary findings of this research from Peter York of the TCC Group. He discovered that “organizational effectiveness is significantly stronger for nonprofits with more than 50 volunteers AND a robust volunteer management model.” He termed these organizations service enterprises.

The paper concludes with a recommendation for the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to invest in developing service enterprises and to empower intermediary service organizations that support multiple community programs.

As your local intermediary service organization, VSD has long advocated that it is not enough to involve volunteers, it also is critical to engage them well. Yet many organizations haven’t invested in volunteerism. Many do not have staff dedicated to supporting volunteers. Even those that do struggle to adequately prepare the staff member; only 30% of staff with volunteer administration responsibilities have had any training.

It’s one of the reasons that VSD invests in building the capacity of organizations to engage volunteers well through volunteer project management, training, networking, resource sharing, and placement of volunteer infrastructure-building AmeriCorps members.

We are thrilled to learn about this validation of our work and the work of our partner organizations. I look forward to reporting more when I return from our national conference next week.

Thanks for your support of VSD and volunteerism!
Sue Carter
Executive Director

Why 50 Volunteers Make a Difference

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