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Investing in Service: A Strategy to Meet Budget Cuts

March 20, 2013 in Engaging Wisdom

Summary:

  • Volunteers play an important role in getting services to low-income, vulnerable elders.
  • For every $1,000 invested in experienced, capable retirees, a real value of $8,000 is returned.
  • In a statement on the House budget resolution, Voices for National Service President AnnMaura Connolly advanced this idea, saying, “National service is a strategy for ensuring … lean, dynamic government response.”

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In a statement on the House budget resolution released last week, Voices for National Service President AnnMaura Connolly highlighted the power that national service provides to get things done in communities.

As members of the Aging Services Network begin to trim their budgets anew in response to sequester cuts, it’s important to remember the important role volunteers play in getting services to low-income, vulnerable elders and to imagine what a rejuvenated, expanded volunteer force might contribute in the future.

We now know that engaging growing numbers of experienced, capable retirees—when they are placed in the right roles, led in the right ways, and given a say in what gets done and how—produces an average return on organizational investments of 8:1.  For every $1,000 invested, a real value of $8,000 is returned.

With this potential return on initial investment in mind, I’d like to share with you some of AnnMaura’s words that reinforce and expand on the value of service and how deployment of national service members, including older adult volunteers, can address the most pressing needs facing families and communities across the country.

“Not only do national service programs leverage the support of the private sector to match federal investment, they compete annually for funds and must demonstrate impact and a solid return on investment. National service is a strategy for ensuring … lean, dynamic government response.

“National service is an example of a cost-effective public private partnership that delivers critically needed services to the communities that need them most. Our nation’s priorities should include opportunities for citizens to solve the problems facing their community and their country through service.”

Have you used older adult volunteers to leverage federal or state funds?  If so, please tell us in the Comments below!  We’d welcome the chance to hear more about your experience and possibly to draft a case study for our resource library that could help your colleagues make the most of their available dollars as well.

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