Getting Started: Next Steps for Funders

Volunteer engagement can spark transformation in organizations across the nation, but shifting paradigms within the philanthropic community will be necessary for this to happen. We, as funders, must recognize that volunteer engagement is not a program in and of itself, but rather a cost-effective core strategy to assist all organizations and community groups in accomplishing their missions. Organizations need our support to create cultures and infrastructures which cultivate, develop, and empower their volunteers.

So, how can you as a funder be proactive in partnering with grantees and move from theory to action? 

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

1. Get the Funder’s Guide to Investing in Volunteer Engagement

This FREE ground-breaking resource gives funders and nonprofit organizations common data and common language to jointly create innovative strategies to better utilize critical volunteer resources for the good of our communities. Nonprofits and funders alike have found The Funder’s Guide very helpful in gaining funder support. We encourage you to use this as the foundation for conversation with your grantees.
To receive print copies free of charge, please contact Jill Haubert at with your mailing address and number of copies you would like.


2. Engage Your Grantees in the Service Enterprise Initiative

The Service Enterprise Initiative is a national program that provides training and certification to selected nonprofits committed to implementing exemplary volunteer management practices to achieve their missions. Certification signifies that organizations have the capability and management expertise to strategically use volunteers to improve the performance of their organization. Service Enterprises are significantly more adaptable, sustainable and better resourced to do their work.

One of the best funder investments in the future will be supporting the certification of their grantees as a Service Enterprise. Locate the Service Enterprise Hubs in your city or state. 

3. Consult the Experts

The Leighty Foundation has worked closely with, and highly recommends, the following consulting firms who have significant expertise in volunteer engagement:

VQ Volunteer Strategies, formerly JFFixler Group, is a leading provider of high-impact volunteer engagement solutions designed to help organizations achieve smarter impact. We help organizations maximize existing resources, unlock their potential, and achieve mission by integrating volunteer engagement as a core organizational strategy. 


Adisa has extensive experience in volunteer management and tailors assessments, consults, and trainings to the unique needs of each organization. Whether just starting a program or looking to improve an existing effort, Adisa can help build focus, clarity, and direction, empowering staff and volunteers at every level of the organization to execute more efficiently and deliver positive results towards the mission.