Nonprofit organization is eighth in Kansas to earn accomplishment
TOPEKA – Peace Connections Inc. recently became the eighth nonprofit organization in the state to become certified as a Service Enterprise – joining the top performing 11% of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer engagement and organizational performance.
The Service Enterprise program, administered by AL!VE (Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement), strengthens nonprofit capacity through the fundamental and strategic use of volunteers and their skills to address community needs, according to volunteeralive.org. A Service Enterprise is an organization that strategically leverages volunteers to achieve operational efficiency and greater social impacts.
The Kansas Volunteer Commission notified Peace Connections Inc. about the certification in March. Certification remains in effect for three years. Organizations are required to apply for recertification after three years.
The prestigious award was approved by AL!VE, one of the nation’s largest organizations dedicated to volunteer service.
The certification recognizes Peace Connections Inc. as a leading organization in volunteer engagement. To earn the certification, the nonprofit completed an extensive organizational assessment; 19 hours of training; 20-plus hours of coaching; intensive planning; and the implementation of change management practices.
Meeting the certification criteria means that Peace Connections Inc. is fully equipped to utilize the time and talent of volunteers to expand and enhance its services.
“Service Enterprise has fundamentally changed the way our organization views and utilizes volunteers in our community – everything from shaping the way we recruit and train volunteers to the ways we solicit feedback and integrate volunteers’ work into our program design,” said Kendra Davila, executive director of Peace Connections Inc. “Our organization is writing our future story in our community through this work, enhancing our community by enhancing relationships and resources.”
The Service Enterprise program concept was formed in 2010. In fall 2013, Points of Light scaled the project to 17 Service Enterprise Hubs in 11 states and certified 60 organizations. Points of Light between 2014 and 2021 scaled the project to 31 states and certified more than 640 organizations. In October 2022, AL!VE began administering the program.
Service Enterprise training and certification is delivered through a network of Service Enterprise Hubs, which are qualified organizations designated as trainers in the program standards.
In July 2019, the Kansas Volunteer Commission became the first organization in Kansas to receive Service Enterprise certification. Now, the Commission serves as a Service Enterprise Hub for the Midwest.
Research conducted by the TCC Group, a national program and evaluation firm, found that organizations operating as Service Enterprises outperform peer organizations on all aspects of organizational effectiveness and are more adaptable, sustainable and capable of scaling their work.
Research also shows that Service Enterprises are as effective as their peers while operating at almost half the annual budget. For every $1 Service Enterprises invest in volunteer engagement, they get $3-$6 in return through more effective program delivery.
The other seven Kansas nonprofits to receive Service Enterprise certification to date are:
- Topeka Habitat for Humanity Inc., Topeka. The organization was certified in September 2021.
- Barton Community College Volunteers in Action of Central Kansas/RSVP, Great Bend. The organization was certified in October 2021.
- United Way of Douglas County, Lawrence. The organization was certified in October 2021.
- Elizabeth B. Ballard Community Services, Lawrence. The organization was certified in April 2022.
- United Way of Greater Topeka, Topeka. The organization was certified in September 2022.
- Douglas County CASA Inc., Lawrence. The organization was certified in January 2023.
- Johnson County Library, Overland Park. The organization was certified in February 2023.