Volunteer Engagement Professionals: Take Your Program to the Next Level

Jan 27, 2023

Service Enterprise is now being operated by Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). As this program changes hands, Points of Light is partnering with AL!VE to ensure a smooth transition. This is part of a series of updates from AL!VE. This one comes from Service Enterprise Administrator Kayla Paulson and highlights the organization’s work with Service Enterprise. 

There is something about the change of a calendar year that helps us reset, refocus and reflect on goals. That’s why Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE) is excited to be leading Service Enterprise — because it gives us the opportunity to help Points of Light Global Network affiliates, volunteer centers, commissions, nonprofits and community organizations maximize their social impact. This change management program empowers organizations to reach new heights in leveraging volunteers and their skills throughout the organization to achieve their social mission.

Almost 10 years ago, when I was part of the team piloting the national rollout of Service Enterprise by Points of Light one of the volunteer engagement professionals in my cohort reflected on the amazing improvements that she made at her previous organization and how things were on a positive trend when she left, but in her absence, they reverted to the old way. Her realization was that she changed her processes, policies and perspectives on volunteer engagement, but she didn’t get the organization to change its culture and the collective way it engaged volunteers. As volunteer engagement professionals we know how to reach volunteers, but sometimes we may try to convince ourselves otherwise — that no organization can have a highly effective and efficient volunteer engagement strategy if it’s solely the volunteer engagement professionals who believe in the power of volunteers.

Service Enterprise is that catalyst for fundamental organizational culture change. It brings together a cross-functional team that is committed to your organization’s mission and maximizing the human capital of the organization. To kickstart the effort, organizations take a multi-person independent self-assessment and debrief the results with a coach to help identify strengths and areas of opportunity, which shines a light on the areas most ripe for change. As a cross-functional team, which includes leadership and volunteer engagement professionals, you attend a multisession cohort-based training program that guides you through conversations and activities that are dedicated to changing the volunteer engagement culture within your organization. During the training and up to a year after, an accountability coach provides support in creating and completing an action plan that will ensure your organization follows through on the changes needed to influence the culture.

Change isn’t easy, but with research-based strategic improvements in your organization’s approach to volunteer engagement, you can have an impact that extends well beyond this calendar year and will have an exponential effect on your organization’s ability to deliver its social mission. If you want to learn more or even add Service Enterprise to your 2023 goals, check out AL!VE’s website or watch this five-minute introductory video that dives into the research behind the work as well as the 12 characteristics of organizations that operate as Service Enterprises. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with Service Enterprise Certified organizations, trainers and hubs at the ASC regional conferences this spring and the Points of Light Conference in Chicago this summer. You’re welcome to join an AL!VE social and informative sessions, or stop by the information booth. When you are networking at conferences, look for Service Enterprise stickers on name badges so that you can connect with top-tier volunteer engagement organizations. If you can’t make it to a conference, check out our map to find a training hub or certified organizations near you, and make 2023 the year you take your volunteer management program to the next level.

Kayla Paulson
CVA, National Service Enterprise Administrator for AL!VE

Volunteer engagement professional, consultant, coach and trainer empowering nonprofits, companies and individuals by helping them realize their volunteer and employee engagement potential.