UWGT to pursue national volunteer credential

Kansas Volunteer Commission selects United Way of Greater Topeka to pursue national credentials

If successful, UWGT will join the top 11% of nonprofits nationwide to earn volunteer management and organizational performance honor

July 22, 2021, TOPEKA, Kan.—The Kansas Volunteer Commission recently announced that United Way of Greater Topeka (UWGT) will join a cohort of seven nonprofits in the 2021 Kansas Service Enterprise initiative. As part of its strategic commitment to volunteerism, United Way will be working toward its Service Enterprise (SE) 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.”

A collage of volunteers from Nancy Perry Day.

Photos from the pandemic-impacted Nancy Perry Day of Caring in 2020.

UWGT’s current initiatives include the annual Nancy Perry Day of Caring, which normally engages 1,000 volunteers on a single day; managing TopekaVolunteers.org, the free-to-use online volunteer management portal; and Topeka Volunteers, an annual spring event to connect volunteers and agencies. UWGT also is finalizing plans to restart its Board Leadership training in 2022 with an updated curriculum.

About the Service Enterprise initiative

According to a recent press release, 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 this credential, the commission also trained to become the SE training hub for the state.

As a training hub, the Commission now leads other organizations through the prestigious SE certification process, a professional development process that trains organizations to strategically leverage volunteers in a way that encourages them to more effectively and efficiently meet their organizational mission. (https://www.pointsoflight.org/service-enterprise-program/)

Seven Kansas organizations will be working toward SE certification in 2022. Funding for this certification process is provided by AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and community volunteerism.

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

An SE certification would put participating organizations at the forefront of volunteer development for the state. United Way of Greater Topeka’s cohort includes CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte counties, CASA of the 17th Judicial District Inc., Douglas County CASA Inc., Eagle Nest Inc., Johnson County 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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 ABOUT UNITED WAY OF GREATER TOPEKA

 Until the Fight is Won.

Creating and cultivating an unbreakable network of support for a strong, healthy and equitable community.

United Way brings together people, companies and nonprofits in Shawnee, Jefferson and Jackson Counties to create positive sustainable change in education, financial stability and health. United Way remains dedicated to supporting Basic Needs, including food, rent and utilities, health and prescription access and safety from domestic violence. For more information, visit unitedwaytopeka.org.

ABOUT THE KANSAS VOLUNTEER COMMISSION

The Kansas Volunteer Commission is a program of the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). The mission of the Kansas Volunteer Commission is to empower all Kansans to meet community needs through service. The Commission’s primary role is to provide resources and leadership to support local initiatives that tackle community needs. As the state service commission, the Commission directs effective national service programs, provides volunteer management training opportunities and supports the work of Mentor Kansas. For more information, visit kanserve.org.

ABOUT AMERICORPS

AmeriCorps is the federal agency for volunteering, service and civic engagement. The agency engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. For more information, visit AmeriCorps.gov.