Service Enterprise in 2022
Polly Roach | Published on 12/29/2022
2022 was a year of reflection and retooling, as Minnesota’s volunteer organizations continued to respond to challenges stemming from changes within organizations and a shifting volunteer landscape. MAVA’s Service Enterprise change management model offered an opportunity for organizations facing these challenges to assess the impact of these transitions and get reenergized to tackle these challenges together.
Organizations beginning the Service Enterprise process in 2022 took the chance to hone their effectiveness to meet the challenges of the moment. Four organizations started their Service Enterprise journeys with MAVA this year: AARP, Hope for the Journey Home Family Shelter, Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, and Trellis, which serves as the area agency on aging for the Twin Cities metro region. Three organizations in this cohort focus on providing resources and advocacy for older adults, reflecting the importance of innovation to serve emerging needs of this demographic, and the critical role volunteers can play in meeting these needs.
All of the participating organizations recognized that the challenges they are facing also offer the chance reengage volunteer support and adapt organizational practices for a new environment. When asked why participating in Service Enterprise was a priority, one organizational leader responded, “We are returning to in-person volunteering after 2+ years. We need to recruit new volunteers and develop volunteer leaders. This is an opportunity to re-imagine, re-brand and market our opportunities. The types of volunteer opportunities have changed, (so we) need to tap into different types of skills/interests.” Another wrote, “The volunteer landscape at [our organization] has changed a lot over the last five years…Now is our moment to collectively reimagine volunteer engagement across our organization.”
In 2022, two organizations that participated in the Spring-Summer 2021 Service Enterprise cohort earned their Service Enterprise certifications: Every Meal and Agate (a merger of St. Stephen’s Human Services and House of Charity). For these organizations, the chance for their teams to work together to examine their assumptions, analyze their processes and reshape their practices for a changing volunteer landscape was transformational. A staff member from one of these teams said, “Service Enterprise has changed and updated my perspective on volunteerism, and what volunteers are capable of. Volunteers can be trusted with large responsibilities, tasked with skilled work, and held accountable like paid staff members. This has changed what kinds of volunteer positions I create with staff members, and the level of work volunteers are recruited for.” As a result, another team member noted, “We increased our ability to support our volunteers and recognize their many contributions. Volunteer support and management is now an agency-wide responsibility, every volunteer that offers their time and expertise now has a big team behind them.”
MAVA also had the chance to reflect and examine its services, through participating in a national assessment of the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) grant that supports the Service Enterprise Initiative, along with professional development offerings, such as the Volunteer Impact Leadership Training series, advanced training workshops, and two conferences. Along with our partner, ServeMinnesota, MAVA participated in a VGF life-cycle evaluation commissioned by AmeriCorps, aimed at understanding how grantees have designed and implemented activities funded by VGF, assessing how VGF supports capacity-building for volunteer engagement, and shaping future directions for VGF funding. Staff at all VGF sites around the country were interviewed and asked to share materials related to their VGF activities, after which Minnesota was chosen as one of a few national sites to receive an in-depth evaluation through a virtual site visit intended to help researchers see VGF ‘in action’ by connecting with different participants in VGF activities. MAVA and ServeMinnesota staff were gratified to be chosen to contribute to deepening AmeriCorps’ understanding of how VGF funding builds community capacity for volunteer engagement, and appreciate the time that participants in VGF activities took to share their feedback in focus groups with the research team. The evaluation will wrap up with a large-scale survey of everyone who has participated in VGF activities over the last three years – be on the lookout for this survey in January!
Looking to refresh your approach to volunteerism? Contact Polly at email@example.com to learn more about how Service Enterprise can help you get there.