Are You a “Service Enterprise?” Find Out Why It Matters

Is your organization a service enterprise? Find out.In today’s dubious economic climate, many nonprofits are struggling to do more with less. There is one resource, however, that is abundantly available to any organization with the know-how to recognize it: Volunteers.

Volunteers can dramatically increase your capacity to deliver on your mission. Does your organization maximize volunteer engagement to increase your bottom line and impact? If so, your nonprofit could be a Service Enterprise.

Research shows that nonprofit organizations that strategically engage volunteers outperform peer organizations on all measures of organizational capacity and have greater impact.

These organizations, known as Service Enterprises, often deliver these results with fewer financial resources than peer organizations. In fact, a $1 investment in volunteer capacity can deliver up to $6 in return.

Reimagining Service, a national multi-sector coalition, is increasing effective volunteer engagement through the creation of more Service Enterprises. Service Enterprises fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills to successfully deliver on the social mission of the organization.

These Service Enterprises employ strong volunteer management practices that enable them to provide significantly more services with fewer monetary resources, thereby enabling them to accomplish their mission and strategic objectives while having greater impact in their community.

Currently, less than 15 percent of nonprofits nationwide demonstrate the characteristics of a nonprofit Service Enterprise.

Is your organization one of them? Click here and in 10 questions find out.

Once you see how your nonprofit measures up, visit the Reimagining Service website to learn more about the research and to access tools and resources to maximize your volunteer engagement practices and make the case for investing in effective volunteer practices.

3 thoughts on “Are You a “Service Enterprise?” Find Out Why It Matters

  1. More focused attention on the value that volunteers bring to the non-profit sector is all good. The ReImagining Service survey helped us think through and let go of some long held and not so productive ways of approaching volunteering and service. It is part of a larger process of making volunteering central to the work we do. The survey jump-started our thinking about better ways to recruit, engage, deploy and retain volunteers and about sustainable volunteer management as a core business function.

  2. While the principles and verbiage of Reimagining Service are supportive of effective vounteering on the surface, I would urge everyone to look critically at how far short this new “quiz” and supposed resources do to advance useful action. This is a simplistic, sizzle-without-steak rebranding effort that only diverts attention (and, unfortunately, money) from important issues to tinker with a new term of “service enterprise” no one needed. Full disclosure: I am happy that they have my book, From the Top Down, as one of the tiny list of available resources, but much too much of real value already available out here is totally ignored. Just because an effort is new does not make it useful.

    • Susan,

      Thank you for adding your thoughts about this piece and the quiz. We can always count on you to lead frank and open discussions about trends in volunteer engagement. And this is a very important discussion to have! We encourage everyone in our community and in the service sector to contribute their opinions.