UWGT to pursue national volunteer credentials

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:30 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The United Way of Greater Topeka will pursue national volunteer credentials.

United Way of Greater Topeka says the Kansas Volunteer Commission has announced that UWGT will join a cohort of seven nonprofits in the 2021 Kansas Service Enterprise initiative. As part of its strategic commitment to volunteerism, it said it will work toward its Service Enterprise certification.

“This is the perfect time for United Way to use this Service Enterprise process to examine and improve our service to agencies, companies and to volunteers themselves,” said Jessica Neumann Barraclough, UWGT Director of Volunteer Engagement. “Our staff and volunteer committees have spent the past year formulating a new strategic plan. One of our big goals is to increase community connectedness. Our journey to SE certification will ensure that we accomplish that goal in the most effective and strategic way possible.”

“We were honored to be included in this initiative by the Kansas Volunteer Commission,” said Jessica Lehnherr, United Way CEO. “Jess (Neumann Barraclough) has really led the charge for us to keep improving our volunteer systems and processes so we can provide the absolute best in volunteer management and training and truly be a one-stop-shop for volunteer needs in greater Topeka. We will be excited to share what we learn with our partners throughout the area.”

According to UWGT, its current initiatives include the annual Nancy Perry Day of Caring, which usually engages about 1,000 volunteers on a single day, managing, the free-to-use online volunteer management portal and Topeka Volunteers, an annual spring event to connect volunteers and agencies. It said it also is finalizing plans to restart its Board Leadership Training in 2022 with an updated curriculum.

UWGT said in July 2019, the Kansas Volunteer Commission became the first SE-certified organization in Kansas through a process lead by Points of Light, the world’s largest volunteer service organization. While obtaining credentials, it said the commission also trained to become the SE training hub for the state of Kansas.

As a training hub, UWGT said the Commission now leads other organizations through the certification process, a professional development process that trains organizations to strategically leverage volunteers to encourage them to more effectively and efficiently meet organizational missions.

UWGT said seven Kansas organizations will work toward SE certification in 2022. It said funding for the process is provided by AmeriCorps.

If successful, UWGT said the organizations chosen to go through the process will join the top 11% of nonprofits nationwide that have earned this honor in volunteer management and organization performance.

According to UWGT, an SE certification would put participating organizations at the head of volunteer development for Kansas. It said its cohort includes CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte counties, CASA of the 17th Judicial District Inc., Douglas Co. CASA Inc., Eagle Nest Inc., Johnson Co. Library and Peace Connections Inc.

“The Service Enterprise certification process will give the selected organizations a framework and pathway to build capacity by incorporating volunteers at all levels of their work,” said Jessica Noble, executive director of the Kansas Volunteer Commission.

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