Mobilizing the Community and Engaging Volunteers
Planning, facilitating and creating an organizational culture conducive to community engagement and volunteer participation requires managers capable of working collaboratively to build projects that engage the public in meaningful, goal-directed work that addresses organizational mission and meets identified community needs. This course is designed to teach the elements of planning, administration and management with a focus on the unique concerns of community engagement and volunteer involvement in the nonprofit and public sector. We will draw on material from the field of volunteer, nonprofit and public-sector administration, case studies and ongoing research being conducted at the RGK Center. In addition to skills necessary for domestic and international service, we will contextualize the learning within a variety of nonprofit-community engagement scenarios which may include topics such as: collective impact, grassroots advocacy, technology, and innovative applications of community engagement in the social service settings. Specifically, the course will provide insight into: An awareness of basic policy issues facing the field of volunteerism. Knowledge about who is volunteering, what motivates people to serve and the benefits of service to the provider and to the community. An awareness of trends facing the field including working with skilled volunteers, retirees and the implications of social networking and technology for the changing face of service. Knowledge of project planning and administration, assessing risk, creating policy documents, and techniques for project assessment. The ability to carve out and create meaningful pieces of work including the development of job descriptions, interviewing, orientation, training, supervision and management of volunteer personnel. How volunteer management skills are transferable to other intra-organizational and inter-organizational nonprofit management scenarios, such as nonprofits working in collective impact initiatives. Additional Specifications: The course qualifies as a preapproved class taught by an RGK Center faculty member for the Nonprofit Portfolio program. The class will include a small group project where students will make an hour-long presentation for actual instructional purposes to the rest of the class. Students will receive significant assistance with this project yet, will also be asked to research the topic independent of the material provided. Students will engage individually in service with the intent to learn from the process of seeking service, moving into involvement and assessing the experience itself. This service project will count towards the service hours required of Nonprofit Studies Portfolio students. Class Texts: Susan J. Ellis (3rd Edition, 2010 ONLY). From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement. Energize, Inc. Philadelphia, PA. Additional peer-reviewed literature and readings will be provided on Canvas or via web links provided in the syllabus.