Expanding Your Workforce Through Americorps Vistas
Most nonprofits would love to have a person like Sarah working for them. Sarah has experience researching at a pharmaceutical research company and interfacing with clients, and she currently works for Wyman Center doing information technology, company-wide trainings, and researching new funding opportunities. Sarah is not, however, a full-time employee. Rather, Sarah is a twenty-something completing civil service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Sarah’s personal passion for art also led her to apply for and receive a $500 grant from the Regional Arts Commission which provided her with materials necessary to hold a photography seminar for Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program participants. The seminar not only helped teens acquire a new skill for expression, it also produced meaningful pictures from young people that will be auctioned off to further support Wyman’s mission.
| Posted in Management on Sep 11, 2012 by
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As Sarah illustrates, an AmeriCorps VISTA can be a highly valuable asset to a poverty-fighting nonprofit. And, increasing your organization’s capacity for a minimum financial investment during today’s economic crisis could spell the difference between making an impact or falling short. AmeriCorps VISTAs, for example, can help nonprofits save money by writing grants, recruiting and organizing volunteers, building community partnerships, creating communications materials, and providing technology services, all without receiving pay from an organization. AmeriCorps VISTAs can also be utilized in the fund-generating departments of an organization, further easing financial pressures by helping brainstorm additional ways to raise money for a nonprofit’s mission.
In addition, AmeriCorps VISTAs bring with them a genuine desire to improve impoverished communities across the nation. Their enthusiasm has the potential to positively impact staff burnout and bring new perspectives to an organization’s challenges. Some roles—particularly experimental ones—are simply best filled by VISTAs, allowing paid staff to dedicate their time and energy to tackling other projects.
Because she will serve about 1,880 hours during her year as a VISTA, and the value of her donated time is about $21 per hour* Sarah’s work will have saved Wyman over $39,480. And, since Sarah is currently one of five VISTAs at her site, the total value of VISTA service for Wyman is fivefold. Finally, Wyman is not the only benefactor of Sarah’s service; her year has been one of professional development and networking, giving Sarah the leg up she needs to be a competitive candidate during our nation’s current economic crisis. Thanks to her year of service, both Sarah and Wyman receive the numerous benefits of the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
Nonprofits interested in building capacity through the AmeriCorps VISTA program need to assess their organization’s needs, create an action plan to receive funding, and determine how they can successfully support their VISTA member(s) while taking full advantage of their talents and abilities. For more information on this opportunity, visit americorps.gov to learn if your nonprofit is eligible to receive a VISTA.
*This estimate comes from Independent Sector’s reported worth of a volunteer.
AmeriCorps AmeriCorps VISTA Program Wyman Center Nonprofit Management Capacity Building
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