Volunteer Generation Fund Supports Volunteer Engagement In Minnesota

Since 2014 ServeMinnesota has partnered with the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) and HandsOn Twin Cities to deliver the Volunteer Generation Fund grant activities across the state of Minnesota.

The major activities supported by the grant include: 1.) Delivery of trainings to help organizations implement best practices for volunteer engagement and mobilization of skills based volunteers, and 2.) Facilitation of the Service Enterprise Initiative, a research based assessment, training, consultation and certification process designed to move organizations to higher levels of volunteer engagement.

Volunteer Engagement Training
In two years VGF supported more than 50 training events in 18 different communities across the state of Minnesota. These events provided training to support increased volunteer engagement to more than 750 individuals representing 350 organizations supporting more than 120,000 volunteers who have contributed over 1.5 million volunteer hours. Of those completing a post-training survey, 85% of participants reported improvement in three or more key areas of volunteer management; on average, participants reported improvement in over 8 of these key areas due to the trainings.


Service Enterprise

Over the two year period, with funds from the Volunteer Generation Fund, the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA) and HandsOn Twin Cities (HOTC) partnered with Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, to offer Minnesota nonprofits access to the Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI). This research based assessment, training, consultation and certification process helps organizations gain a greater return on volunteer investment and better achieve their social mission.

  • MAVA and HOTC organized 7 SEI cohorts over the two year grant period, with 44 organizations participating.
  • Over 260 people from 44 different organizations participated in SEI training sessions.
  • To date 28 organizations have met the rigorous standards required to achieve SE certification from Points of Light, and many others are making progress toward certification.

Service Enterprise Impacts

In an effort to learn more about the impact of participating in Service Enterprise, HandsOn Twin Cities and MAVA held a focus group with certified service enterprise organizations and conducted in-depth interviews with staff and volunteers from organizations that participated in the Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI). Staff providing input had job titles such as Supervisor of Volunteer Services, Executive Director, City Manager, Director of Nursing and Head of Archeology. Here are highlights of the feedback they provided about the impacts of SEI:


  • Realized the importance of taking a strategic planning approach to volunteer engagement
  • The process provided a structure of accountability to make changes
  • Valuable to have staff throughout the organization involved
  • Useful focus on organizational development  and change management


  • Staff have increased interest in working with volunteers and vision of how volunteers can be  involved
  • Increased buy-in  from top management and whole organization on volunteer involvement
  • Volunteer engagement more integrated into the organization
  • SEI helped in clarifying roles
  • Better understanding of resources needed for the volunteer program and allocation of resources
  • Better experience for volunteers; volunteers feel more connected to the organization
  • External relation benefits;  value to funders; public acknowledgement; stamp of approval
  • Contributes to overall health of organization


  • Since Service Enterprise, volunteers now train other volunteers
  • Volunteers provide assistance that supports staff
  • Volunteers are now not afraid to suggest changes
  • Volunteers help with strategic planning and this has a big impact

About MAVA:
The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration is a powerful force for leaders of volunteers that facilitates exchange of relevant information and ideas and effective professional development through multi-level training opportunities.
Contact: Sara Wessling, swessling@mavanetwork.org

About HOTC:
HandsOn Twin Cities is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting and facilitating meaningful volunteerism, education and leadership development in the Twin Cities Metro Area.

About Volunteer Generation Fund
The Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service. There are 17 state service commissions administering VGF grants to expand volunteer infrastructure by supporting volunteer management practices that increase volunteer recruitment and retention. Learn more atwww.statecommissions.org.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s