What Does Patrick Corvington Need to Know?

10_0211_corvington_200America has a new top promoter for volunteering, and his name is Patrick Corvington.

On February 18, Corvington was sworn in as the new CEO for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that is the nation’s largest grantmaker for service and volunteering. He takes over from interim chief Nicola Goren, who helped bridge the pre-Serve America Act and post-Serve America Act periods for the Corporation.

What is Corvington getting into? According to the press release, he joins the agency in a time of “unprecedented social need and support for national service.”

We couldn’t agree more about the need, with social service budgets being slashed across the country, massive layoffs, record foreclosures, and gridlock on Capitol Hill.

As for support, the money is certainly there. While nonprofits across the nation shrinking their operations, the Serve America Act’s bipartisan backing has meant a $260 million-plus increase in funds for federal programs like AmeriCorps, SeniorCorps, and Learn and Serve America. And more people are talking about volunteering that seemingly ever before, even if the needle has not yet substantially moved on involvement.

Impact Uncertain

And yet, as things stand today, the impact of the Corporation for National and Community Service has not been felt across the sector.

Most nonprofits aren’t tuned into the Corporation or how national service could help their operations.

Most volunteers have little sense for who is behind national promotions like MLK Day, much less an interest in signing up for national service programs, stipended or not. (It doesn’t help that some aspects of the Corporation’s communications haven’t been updated in an eternity — this page appears to date back to 2004.)

Meanwhile, a few whispers are being heard that the Serve America Act may have it all wrong.

Some say the already limited funding for social innovators and volunteer referral programs has too many strings attached or that key funds have already been unfairly earmarked as pork for state commissions.

Paula Bergin and Susan Ellis, influential voices on volunteer management, even expressed their fears that putting lightly trained AmeriCorps members in a management capacity for a limited time could actually destroy many volunteer programs.

New Focus on Capacity Building

But the new hire could mean the Corporation has turned the corner — especially with regard to a renewed focus on increasing the ability of organizations to effectively recruit and manage volunteers. Corvington got the job in large part because his background aligns with the Corporation’s renewed focus on “capacity building” from the Serve America Act.

At the Annie E. Casey Foundation he helped guide the foundation’s grantees on issues related to leadership development, next generation leadership, and capacity building. Before that he led the Innovation Network, a nonprofit agency whose mission is to build nonprofit capacity, and conducted policy research in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center at The Urban Institute, the think-tank that was responsible for one of the most important studies on the sector over the last decade.

With Corvington running the agency and money about to start flowing out of the funded coffers, the time appears right for your organization to plug into programs that could make a huge difference.

So what do you think, volunteer managers? Are you ready for real capacity building support? More importantly, what does Patrick Corvington need to know about your program as he prepares to try to help you? Share your advice for America’s top volunteer promoter below.

(Photo: CNCS)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

5 thoughts on “What Does Patrick Corvington Need to Know?

  1. FINDING THIS SITE HAS GIVEN ME FRESH AND NEW ENCOURAGEMENT. READING THE PARTICK CORVINGTON STORY (COINCIDENTLY ON ST PATTYS DAY) WAS VERY UPLIFTING. MAKING THIS STORY SHORT WILL BE THE HARDEST PART. I LIVE IN KANSAS CITY MO MIDTOWN AREA WHERE 26 OF 61 SCHOOLS HERE ARE CLOSING AT THE END OF THE YEAR CREATING MORE BLIGHT IN A BLIGHTED AREA OF THE CITY. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOUR ORGANIZATION AND MANY OTHERS COME TO THE RESCUE AND FILL THESE HALF EMPTY SCHOOLS WITH RESOURCES THAT ARE SO BADLY NEEDED HERE. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A REGIONAL MANAGER IN THIS AREA. MY ORGANIZATION FOCUSES ON MENTORING PROGRAMS AND NEW ENTREPRENEURS LOOKING TO DEVELOP SKILLS THAT HAS MADE AMERICA BEAUTIFUL. I HAVE A 501(c)3 AND A DESIRE TO MOVE FOWARD TO KEEP AT LEAST 10 OF THESE SCHOOLS OPEN FOR THAT PURPOSE. WE ARE SETTING RECORDS IN KILLING AND OTHER ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES BECAUSE THERE ARE NO POSITIVE THINGS GOING ON HERE. I WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE THAT AND CREATE NEIGHBORHOODS WITH A COMMUNITY THAT OFFERS VILLAGE MENTALITY. THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE AND WE DESPARATELY NEED ALL THE HELP WE CAN GET LOCALLY AND FROM OUR NATIONS CAPITOL. THANK YOU AGAIN RUTH

  2. I’m the Volunteer Coordinator for a free mental health clinic that relies on volunteer professional counselors and therapists to serve the clinic’s clients. This position is new, though the program is several years old, and is only grant-funded for a year so far. We’ve come to recognize how essential this position is!

    The agency’s leadership would also like to move to the next level of volunteerism, that is, using volunteers in its other programs. So there are two issues facing us:

    (1) how do we secure on-going, stable funding for this position, given that it would be seen as “new money” in this time when there’s no “new money” for anything?

    (2) how do we bring volunteers into an environment that is highly clinical and rigid, where nearly every task requires a professional skill set, and make it meaningful for them and of value for the agency?

    I suspect both of these questions may be on the minds of many people.

  3. Future Grads helps people. We provide services to the community to help stabilize and improve the community. Our main focus is on the children. Every year Future Grads helps children by providing, food, clothing, school supplies and other necessities. We conduct Health Fairs, Job Fairs, assist with Block Parties, Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Party and other events. We are passionate about helping others, especially those that are less fortunate than others. To change the Society, we must begin at the community level. Our motto is ‘IRIE’ Involve with Respect, Improve and Educate. Future Grads need volunteers who are eager for change. We have lots of work to do, especially in the Queens area. http://www.futuregrad.webs.com or 516-495-6722

  4. In our community we have many organizations that are looking for volunteers. We have built a strong network for our volunteer coordinators/executive directors (depending on the size of the program) and we meet regularly to share ideas and even volunteers.

    We seem to be able to fill most of our volunteer roles, although we are always looking for high level volunteers such as board members. Bringing in more business people who can help support and advise our growing non-profits is our biggest challenge.

    Support of leadership development programs for mid-level management to help them understand how they can fill this valuable role would be very helpful. Leadership Eastside, http://www.leadershipeastside.com is one such program in our area that has been very helpful.

  5. One thing I’m faced with daily is finding the time to recruit. Adding to that problem is a lack of awareness in smaller communities. I see applications pour in from the most populated cities in our territory, and I wonder how to reach those in more rural areas. We cover a very rural state, and I need to know how to reach volunteers who don’t necessarily read blogs or watch YouTube videos. No doubt, technology offers me a wide variety of resources, and I use them to full capacity. Volunteermatch.com remains one of my most valuable recruitment tools, and I enjoy reaching people in all these new ways! Still, our biggest need continues to be finding volunteers in the smaller towns that are furthest from our doorstep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>