Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Live blogging Nonprofit Day: Reimagining Service/Effective Human Resource Management Practices

Jeanne Bell CEO of CompassPoint moderated a morning plenary session titled "Reimagining Service." (Audio recording will be available after 8/31). This session was all about how effective volunteer & human resource management improves nonprofit capacity and organizational effectiveness.

Recent research by the TCC group through the Core Capacity Assessment Tool reiterates the importance of effective human resource management practices within nonprofit organizations. This research shows that organizations with more volunteers and larger budgets manage volunteers more effectively. It also shows that once organizations hit the $1mil budget mark they struggle with scalability and capacity to manage volunteers. The organizations that do succeed through the scalability transition create strong and well developed human resources practices.

Bobbi Silten CFO of Gap reiterated this fact when she spoke about an amazing new initiative titled Reminaging Service, which is:
A self-organized community of individuals from nonprofits, government, and the private sector. We are inspired by the renewed call to service, and believe that volunteerism can help solve some of society's most pressing problems. In order to maximize the potential of service, we seek to convert good intentions into greater impact.
This community promotes service enterprises: "nonprofits or for profits that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills to successfully deliver on the social mission of the organization." Since nonprofits generally leverage ten to twenty times more volunteers than staff, Bobbi expressed the importance of strategically recruiting and managing volunteers. She said, "volunteering only matters if it addresses issues related to you and your community." She also said, "don't let supply dictate your volunteer program, you wouldn't hire every potential employee that comes into the door." The solution: Bobbi expressed scalability --start small with a one time volunteer event and work your way up to multiple events. Be proactive versus reactive towards volunteers.

Peter York also emphasized focusing on both the program (skilled and unskilled) and operational staff and...most importantly invest in human resources. "We need board members to understand the importance of human resources." If you don't have the capacity to serve more people, stop serving people until you can invest in more operational staff to scale up.

Great session!! I highly recommend you listen to the audio recording when it becomes available here.

Volunteer Management Resources shared during the plenary:
Talent Initiative by CommonGood Careers
Betty Stallings
Volunteer Center San Francisco
Nonprofit Risk Management Center

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