The Volunteer Road
United States’ Presidents and National Service
Service to others is a core value of our country. U.S. presidents throughout history have been instrumental in creating the programs to support national service. This President’s Day, we remember presidents, starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, and their contributions to National Service and AmeriCorps.
Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order on April 5, 1933 and created the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of his New Deal legislation in response to the Great Depression. This monumental initiative not only employed around four million young people, but also helped shape the national and state park systems we enjoy today. Some of the accomplishments of this program include, planting over 3.5 Billion trees, constructing trails and shelters in more the 800 parks nationwide and clearing and maintaining access roads. In 1942 when World War II began, the Civilian Conservation Corps was dissolved to utilize all resources for the war effort. Fortunately, this program was highly regarded among the public and eventually inspired the creation of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in 1992.
To develop and manage an AmeriCorps Program is a big decision. There are many factors to consider, but you shouldn’t let the below reasons deter you! AmeriCorps Programs bring dedicated community members to address real needs throughout Nevada. Nevada Volunteers is here to help you develop and implement a great program and give community members the ability to connect with your organization, your mission, and your community–creating a stronger Nevada.
1) We don’t have the capacity to manage a federal grant
The policies and procedures needed to manage federal grants strengthen organizations. Don’t have them in place yet? Apply for a planning grant. Nevada Volunteers will provide funding of up to $75,000 for your organization to spend up to 12 months developing these policies and procedures so that you can manage federal grants. During this time, you will attend Nevada AmeriCorps trainings specifically designed to improve organizational and program capacity, meet other AmeriCorps program directors from across the state, and work with consultants who understand AmeriCorps. You’ll come to the end of the year with the policies and procedures in place to run an impactful AmeriCorps program, and your organization will become much stronger in the process.
AmeriCorps week is here and Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation (TMPF) is ready to celebrate. The leadership at TMPF believes in the true power of National Service and what AmeriCorps does for our community, which is why they chose AmeriCorps as the best way to grow our Student Stewards Program.
The Student Stewards Program at TMPF gets kids excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects through hands on experiential outdoor adventures in local parks. Our AmeriCorps members have helped thousands of students steward our parks through citizen science, which is certainly something to celebrate in my book.
As if that wasn’t enough to celebrate, raising $100,000 per year in matching funds is an annual challenge that luckily our community supports. Our community has come together through local grants, donations, and sponsorships to ensure this valuable program continues. Without your support we would not be able to impact so many children.
Nevada Volunteers is proud to announce the second certified Service Enterprise (SE) in Nevada, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) that achieved certification on June 6, 2016. While the Tahoe Rim Trail Association has always been a volunteer-centered organization, they began the Service Enterprise process in the summer of 2015 with the goal of strengthening their volunteer practices. Going through the Service Enterprise process required the staff to pause and reflect on practices, regardless of if they were working well, to see if they could be strengthened to better leverage volunteers.
The Service Enterprise process teaches organizations how to calculate Return on Volunteer Investment (ROVI) and then requires staff to calculate ROVI for the organization and each program. TRTA staff noticed in their ROVI that the free-guided hikes program, while utilizing volunteers didn’t have a high return on investment. TRTA made adjustments such as making sure every guided hike has an educational component through which participants learn useful skills and knowledge. This added educational component assured TRTA the effort made by volunteers in offering the program is also strategically aligned to help them meet their mission.
Stephanie D’Arcy and Valerie Gillette, of the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, jumped for joy as they accepted the Service Enterprise Certification from Nevada Volunteers on March 28, 2016. They are the first certified Service Enterprise (SE) in the state of Nevada and among only 210 nationwide. A week before receiving the certification, Mat Sinclair the Executive Director, Stephanie D’Arcy, the Visitor Services Director, and Valerie Gillette, the Volunteer Coordinator, sat around their conference table with the SE Certification team from Nevada Volunteers and discussed all they accomplished in the past eleven months since they began the SE process. The Discovery Museum staff made huge strides in incorporating volunteers at all levels of the organization and embedding the change into their culture.
The Discovery Museum began their Service Enterprise journey last spring and as a result of the Service Enterprise process, incorporated new SE strategies into their volunteer program and organization. They refined the process for bringing volunteers into the organization and supporting them throughout their time at the museum. They added information to the volunteer handbook and expanded and improved the volunteer position descriptions. Because of the new strategies, the Discovery was able to recruit more skilled volunteers and find volunteers that fit the roles they needed.
Walking into the offices of Volunteer Services at Washoe County School District (WCSD), the first thing you will notice among the close desks and cubicles are the smiles of the staff and the volunteers that work with them. It hasn’t always been this way though. There was a time when the offices of the people in the department were in multiple buildings, some blocks away from one another, and the grinning faces weren’t so apparent.
A couple things have changed that brought these positive vibes to the office place. Volunteer Services moved to a new office building in March of 2015; now all the staff are located in one place. They also started the process to become a certified Service Enterprise. A Service Enterprise is an organization that leverages volunteers across all of levels of the organization through a facilitated change process that creates positive changes for the staff and the culture of an organization. This change process is about more than volunteer engagement, it builds capacity by incorporating volunteers into every area of the organization.
A reflection on the power of volunteerism
by Amber Martin-Jahn Executive Director Nevada Volunteers
Last week I spoke at our 13th Annual Governor’s Points of Light Awards. What an inspiring event! At the morning reception honoring all the finalists I was awed by the ability of these individuals and organizations to transform volunteer service into good for their communities.
The finalists and award recipients re-affirm that volunteerism is powerful. It is powerful and it is good for Nevada.
Volunteering is also a purposeful act. It is a choice. At some point each of the finalists, individuals and organizations decided to take action and that action resulted in a power of good for Nevada. It might have started as a little spark of wanting to make a difference, or wanting to change something and today it is something so much bigger, something deserving of recognition, something that is powerful.
Volunteerism is powerful and it is good for Nevada. But what is it that moved each of these finalists to get involved?
For Immediate Release
Contact: Amber Martin-Jahn, Executive Director
(775) 825-1900 | firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY
Seeking Nevada Organizations committed to using national service to address critical community needs in education, public safety, health and environment
RENO | LAS VEGAS, August 25, 2015 —Nevada Volunteers is pleased to release this Notice of Funding which requests applications from Nevada organizations and agencies interested in receiving AmeriCorps funding to recruit, place, and supervise AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps programs support local community efforts by addressing education, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, disaster services and veteran and military families through AmeriCorps member assignments which provide direct service and capacity-building activities, while also mobilizing volunteers. Applicants will design service activities for a team of members who have each committed to one year of service. Sample activities include tutoring and mentoring youth, disaster response, job training/placement, assisting the elderly with resource navigation, and restoring environmental habitat.
Are you a volunteer coordinator? WE NEED YOU (and your volunteers!) to help us get a better picture of volunteers and volunteerism in Nevada. Are you ready to help?
Dear Volunteer Coordinators:
Nevada’s volunteer participation rate (20.7%) is one of the lowest in the nation and means that we are currently ranked 49th in the country. UNLV researchers are collaborating with United Way of Southern Nevada and Nevada Volunteers, The Governor’s Commission on Service, to improve the climate of volunteerism in the State. We’d like to invite you to participate in our effort as well.
As an organization that utilizes volunteers, you know how volunteering makes a real difference in our community. Would your organization be interested in disseminating a survey about volunteerism to your volunteers? The goal of the survey is to help us better understand volunteerism in Nevada and strategize about how to improve our volunteerism rate. We are interested in helping our community partners and would be happy to share the aggregated results of the survey with you.
Service— an act of helpful activity; help; aid
Enterprise— a project undertaken or to be undertaken, especially one that is important or difficult or that requires boldness or energy
These two terms hint at the meaning behind the Service Enterprise process—a process that transforms a nonprofit or municipal entity into a high-performing, effective organization that utilizes the skills of volunteers to better meet needs in the community. Despite widespread use of volunteers, did you know that only 11% of organizations function as a Service Enterprise?
Those organizations functioning as service enterprises are more adaptable (a highly prized attribute in today’s fast-changing world), more flexible, and leverage their financial resources up to 6 times more than a comparable organization. Good volunteer engagement is more than traditional volunteer management training, yet that’s where many organizations focus their efforts. Recent research tells us that taking a broad organizational approach means better results for our volunteers and our organizational effectiveness.
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