Across the nation, city leaders strive to build resilient cities, serve their residents, and strengthen their communities economically, socially, physically, and beyond. This effort has been made even more pressing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though research shows that engaging residents as volunteers can help cities in all those efforts, many struggle to gain leadership support for the investment of resources necessary to embrace volunteer engagement as a citywide strategy. To that end, VQ Volunteer Strategies partnered with Offero (a provider of database software) to develop a guide summarizing the research and outlining steps to build the case for citywide volunteer engagement.

That guide, Citywide Volunteer Engagement Guide: Path to Stronger Communities, which has already been downloaded by hundreds of professionals, is helping leaders and residents share research that builds the case for committing to volunteer engagement as a strategy to fulfill a city’s strategic priorities. Yet, leaders are also seeking guidance on how to get started once support is garnered.

Again, we have partnered to meet that demand and to complement other existing resources. This series of playbooks is designed to provide specific, actionable steps to enhance citywide volunteer engagement strategies, either as a response to support from leadership or as a way to further make the case to leadership by demonstrating the benefits. The series provides guidance to:

  • Develop New Volunteer Opportunities
  • Reveal Volunteer Impact in Your City
  • Develop a Roadmap for Citywide Volunteer Engagement

Each playbook contains:

  • Step-by-Step Guide to Implement the Strategy
  • Case Studies from the Field
  • Tools and Templates
  • Recommended Resources

The first playbook, Developing New Volunteer Opportunities in Your City will help you take actionable steps toward identifying community needs, developing new volunteer roles to address those needs, and equipping staff to support volunteers.

The second playbook focuses on measuring and communicating impact in meaningful ways. Sharing the positive difference volunteers make is more important than ever. Volunteer managers must communicate the impact of volunteers to gain program resources, recruit volunteers, and, ultimately, build strong communities. Download Revealing Volunteer Impact in Your City to go beyond counting hours alone and transform the way you measure and communicate volunteer impact. Discover how to audit your current measurement practices, learn new ways to track impact, and develop a plan for success.  

The third playbook in the series is designed to help you put it all together through a powerful plan. More city leaders adopt citywide volunteer engagement as a powerful strategy to strengthen their own communities, but knowing that citywide engagement is the city’s destination is not enough. Having a clear and strategic roadmap to reach that destination is crucial to ensuring that the journey is successful and that it utilizes resources efficiently. Developing a Roadmap to Citywide Volunteer Engagement: The Playbook includes useful templates, shares the appropriate steps, and highlights a success story from Flint, Michigan.

Ultimately, these materials are designed to inspire action towards engaging residents as volunteers and strengthening your city through the skills, talent, and commitment of community members.