Volunteer Generation Fund makes Community Radio Possible in King County, Washington through Volunteer Manager Corps (VMC)

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This April, in honor of National Volunteer Month, we’ll be featuring stories of how volunteers are impacting states and the ways in which state service commissions are leveraging the power of volunteers to meet critical local needs through their Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) activities. Learn more at statecommissions.org/volunteer-generation-fund.

WASHINGTON. The mission of Serve Washington, the state service commission in the Evergreen State, is to advance national service, volunteerism and civic engagement to improve lives; expand opportunity to meet the local critical needs of residents of Washington; and strengthen community capacity while creating healthy and resilient communities. Serve Washington administers the state’s Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) program, providing subgrants to two major entities that mobilize volunteers in support of state and local priorities: 501 Commons (a non-profit organization) and a statewide association called Volunteer Centers of Washington (VCW).  The VCW provides mini-grants to volunteer centers in Washington State with VGF funds.

501 Commons uses VGF funds to add a group of low-power FM (LPFM) King County radio stations to their Volunteer Manager Corps (VMC) Program.  Through these nonprofit, commercial-free media outlets, anyone can become part of the voice of their surrounding area, whether that takes the form of starting conversations, sharing health and emergency response information or featuring musicians, artists and other forms of local culture.

Volunteer committees are the building blocks of the community radio model, however, these stations do not currently have the internal resources necessary to fully involve volunteers in the support of their mission. The VMC program helps foster the development and growth of these stations by creating a volunteer management toolkit that lays the ground work for their success.

VMC members help develop the infrastructure necessary for the stations to effectively recruit, engage and retain high-value volunteers. These key volunteers work behind the scenes with 7 stations to create a volunteer management toolkit including:
Position descriptions for essential volunteer roles
An outline of a volunteer orientation
A volunteer handbook
A volunteer screening process
A volunteer feedback survey

LPFM Background:
Each of these stations is a member of the Puget Sound Community Radio Cohort (PSCRC), the nation’s first alliance for nonprofit radio station applicants to pool resources and foster a learning community.  The goal of the LPFM Accelerator and consulting engagement with 501 Commons is to build organizational capacity with a specific focus on fundraising, volunteer management and equitable community outreach that informs, engages and mirrors the LPFM Accelerator’s target audiences.

The LPFM Accelerator Stakeholders are:
Debra Twersky, 4Culture
Debra Webb, 501 Commons
Sabrina Roach, Brown Paper Tickets
Ernesto Aguilar, National Federation of Community Broadcasters
Antoine Heywood, Alliance for Community Media and PhillyCAM (Public Access Center with LPFM)

LPFM Accelerator Participants include:
Earth on the Air Radio
Fulcrum Community Radio
Hollow Earth Radio
Magnuson Radio
One America
Valley Radio
Rainier Valley Radio

The work is further strengthened by the contributions of Racial Equity Advisors:
Sahar Fathi, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Vicky Yuki and Delia Burke, Seattle IT’s Community Technology Program
Diana Falchuck, Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative Strategic Advisor
Valerie Wonder and Davida Ingram, Seattle Public Library

You can read more about LPFM here.

To learn more about Serve Washington and its programs, visit servewashington.wa.gov/.

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