Change Notes: Looking Back At Our Work

Oct 6, 2011


For many of us, September feels like the beginning of a new year – the start of school, back to work, the change of seasons. Because Points of Light works within an annual cycle that ends Sept. 30 and “begins” on Oct. 1, this sense of fall as a time for new beginnings is accentuated.

Over the summer, we were hard at work on our annual conference in New Orleans in June, the celebration of generationOn’s partnership with Parade Magazine’s All-American Service Team, supporting our AmeriCorps Alums’ Save Service efforts and preparing to mobilize hundreds of thousands of volunteers for 9/11 Day.

We also dedicated time to strategic planning – plotting our work for the coming years. We consulted with literally hundreds of stakeholders and looked back on our own work over the last few years.

As we begin to share our vision for the future, we want to first share our accomplishments and mine the lessons from the previous three years.

Our previous strategic plan took us from October 2009 through September 2011, and included a number of initiatives that addressed two key pillars – driving impact and innovation across the service sector and building organizational excellence within Points of Light Institute.

Over the course of three years, we exceeded a number of our strategic goals including:

  • Engaging 8.8 million Americans to serve through our network
  • Recognizing and honoring 1.2 million volunteers for their contribution to communities
  • Generating $116 million for nonprofits by enabling people to use their purchasing power for good
  • Mobilizing 37 million people through innovative technology

We fell short of our aggressive goals to provide 10 million people with tools and resources, and we feel like we are just beginning to approach our goal to engage hundreds of thousands of volunteer leaders in self-organized projects. We have applied the lessons we’ve learned in these areas to our updated strategic plan and we are excited about the possibilities.

As the nation faces increasing challenges and limited resources, we believe it is incumbent upon us to think creatively and embrace risk, and even failure, in pursuit of transformation. We will try to embrace big goals in the hope of creating big impact at a time when we really need it. We will strive to make service central to meeting the critical issues of our time.

We are grateful for the extraordinary partnerships and support that made the work of our last three year plan possible and we look forward to sharing our new strategic plan in the coming weeks.

Yours in service,



Michelle Nunn

CEO, Points of Light Institute

Michelle Nunn