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Accomplishment Spotlight: AmeriCorps National Member at Operation Homefront Builds Organization’s Volunteer Management Program July 27, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
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Vincent Watson, a Call to Service Corps AmeriCorps National member serving with Operation Homefront, has spent his nearly complete service term revamping the organization’s volunteer management strategy, at a time of great change for the organization.

Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization that provides financial and other assistance to servicemembers and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront is evolving as requirements change for those service members that have been impacted by the war on terror. Draw downs in deployed personnel are bringing new requirements to OH to care for those who served and the families that support them. Operation Homefront has identified necessary organizational changes to respond to this new tempo. Chiefly, Operation Homefront is converting its network of stand-alone local chapters using the Operation Homefront name into a national network with central control measures and accountability. This conversion has made changes to many OH business processes necessary, including its volunteer management system. Serving as the organization’s volunteer coordinator, Watson has been at the forefront of this redesign.

In preparing for this shift in volunteer management strategy, Watson carefully reviewed current volunteer management processes against new desired outcomes. Among his considerations were supervision requirements, span of control, training needs, work space and support processes. Watson’s analysis has led to a number of management changes.

Among the changes that Watson identified and is now implementing includes elevating chapter volunteers to national volunteers and streamlining the content matter and knowledge base of those volunteers. This change in both supervision and training delivery will ensure OH delivery of consistent organizational messages across its various media. Another area for improvement is that of the client services representatives. These individuals, some of whom are volunteers and others staff, screen applications from and render financial assistance to servicemembers and wounded warriors in need. Like the communications volunteers, the CSRs now report to a single division in the national office, rather than to semi-autonomous chapters.

Furthermore, Vince altered the organization’s volunteer recruitment and enrollment processes so that prospective volunteers begin at the national level for application screening and document collection. Once cleared for service, those volunteers are then assigned by the national office to regional field offices for deployment.

Vince was the right individual for this heavy-duty assignment, having served for 27 years in the United Air Force in recruiting roles. That personnel management background provided Vince — and Operation Homefront — the high-order skills and experience necessary for re-designing OH’s volunteer management system.

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