Harwich Conservation Trust is pleased to announce that Points of Light, a national, independent, nonpartisan, non-profit focused on promoting volunteerism, certified the Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) as a Service Enterprise, which is defined as an organization that effectively engages volunteers to successfully deliver its mission. HCT’s mission is to preserve land that protects woods, water, wildlife, and the shared quality of life in Harwich. Points of Light has offices in Washington DC, New York City, Atlanta, and Singapore.
According to Points of Light, research conducted in 2009 by the TCC Group, a national consulting and evaluation firm focused on social issues, found that organizations operating as Service Enterprises outperform peer organizations on all aspects of organizational effectiveness and are more adaptable and sustainable. TCC Group’s research also determined that Service Enterprise organizations are as equally effective as peer organizations without volunteers, but at almost half the median budget.
HCT was selected by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and Cape Cod Volunteers to participate in a Points of Light pilot program evaluating volunteer programs along with WE CAN, Cotuit Center for the Arts, Falmouth Service Center, CHAMP Homes, and Falmouth VIPS. HCT’s rigorous assessment of its volunteer program included over 100 hours of training, consulting, and volunteer program planning to ensure HCT’s volunteers are connected with HCT’s day-to-day operations and long range plans in meaningful ways.
“We started HCT’s volunteer program back in 2006, so this comprehensive evaluation led by Matt Cannon, HCT’s Land Stewardship Coordinator, and HCT volunteer Chris Joyce helps us enhance and streamline our efforts. By achieving this level of excellence and national certification, HCT is now even more equipped to utilize the time and talent of volunteers for efficiently meeting our mission,” said Michael Lach, HCT’s Executive Director.
Through this training and certification process guided by the Massachusetts Service Alliance, HCT has implemented several ways to streamline its volunteer interview and tracking process. “We created a new volunteer intake form based on skills and interests and a new annual volunteer feedback survey in order to assess our programming efforts. We’re always striving to meet the needs of the community and our volunteers,” said Cannon. HCT has also begun initiating a new way to organize its volunteer projects through software technology that helps streamline event planning and land stewardship tasks. Now, “We have more documentation of past efforts, more volunteer feedback opportunities, and more streamlined approaches to volunteer engagement that save time and resources so we can better fulfill HCT’s mission of preserving land to protect woodlands, water, wildlife, and the quality of life shared by the Harwich community and the Cape,” said Cannon.
In general, HCT receives $3 in saved labor value for every $1 spent on volunteer programming. This figure is increasing as HCT finds innovative ways to utilize volunteers who coordinate events, stewardship projects, and other efforts. On average, volunteers provide approximately $80,000 worth of services to HCT each year.
“Volunteers make our conservation world go round. We’re grateful every day for the time and talent generously contributed by our dedicated volunteers,” said Lach.
For more information regarding the Points of Light Service Enterprise Initiative, please visit http://www.pointsoflight.org/service-enterprise-initiative.