Dec 13, 2013 11:59 AM
Wallingford Community Senior Center has struggled with the financial and capacity issues familiar to many local nonprofits in the wake of the 2008 recession. With community will and support, the Center has been working hard to redefine, rebuild, and reinvigorate its services.
Wallingford Community Senior Center (WCSC), housed in the historic Good Shepherd Center in north Seattle, has struggled with the financial and capacity issues familiar to many local nonprofits in the wake of the 2008 recession. As the only senior-oriented facility of its kind in all of north-central and northeast Seattle, this community-based organization has served the critical needs of an aging population for over thirty years. However, in 2009 it faced the difficult reality of having to cut many of its programs and let go of much of its staff in order to keep its doors open. Since then, with community will and support WCSC has been working hard to redefine, rebuild, and reinvigorate its services.
During this time of transition, one thing that has remained central to WCSC is its strong reliance on volunteers. From meal preparation and class instruction, to front desk staffing and event support, WCSC couldn’t operate without volunteers. Even though strengthening its volunteer system has been an explicit organizational priority since 2009, lack of staff capacity has consistently prevented progress. What WCSC’s Executive Director Kathleen Cromp needed was someone who could focus solely on building the systems and infrastructure that are the foundation of its volunteer engagement efforts.
This is precisely the kind of support that Volunteer Impact Partnership (VIP) Manager Corps provides. VIP Manager Corps offers 20 organizations a part-time volunteer to help assess volunteer program needs and implement solutions that will develop or enhance volunteer programs over the long haul. VMC Members serve ten hours per week for about eight months and up to 300 hours, and receive a United Way of King County Service Award for their efforts. Kathleen knew this infusion of support what WCSC needed improve their volunteer engagement programs.
In February 2013, Mark Montgomery joined the VIP Manager Corps and began his service at WCSC. He has focused his time on WCSC’s most pressing needs: the front end of the volunteer process, such as creating volunteer position descriptions, updating volunteer applications, and developing processes for screening and matching volunteers with available positions. By the time the VIP Manager Corps program is completed this December, WCSC will have skilled job descriptions posted on recruitment sites, leadership will be able to give background checks in a streamlined manner, and all volunteers will be oriented and trained. If time allows, WCSC will also have a volunteer evaluation process in place.