GREENFIELD — LifePath announced it has been certified by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, as a service enterprise. Organizations with that certification join the top 11% of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. Certification signifies that organizations have the capability and management expertise to strategically use volunteers to improve the performance of their organization.
LifePath completed an extensive assessment — more than 20 hours of training and coaching — and an extensive internal planning and change process to better integrate volunteers. By achieving this level of excellence and certification, LifePath is now better-equipped to leverage the time and talent of volunteers and better meet its mission.
LifePath is the first nonprofit in Western Mass. and the first Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) in Massachusetts to achieve the certification.
“LifePath provides opportunities for volunteers to contribute their time, energy, expertise, and life experience in support of programming serving the needs of older community members and those living with disabilities,” said Gary Yuhas, executive director of LifePath. “As a nonprofit organization, LifePath experiences a number of resource challenges, and our dedicated and devoted volunteer corps steps up to help us initiate new, novel, necessary, and often unfunded programming that not only supports and strengthens our communities, but is also enriching, engaging, and rewarding for the volunteer.”
According to Susan White, associate director of Volunteer Resources, the process informed strategic planning for LifePath’s numerous volunteer programs. “As a result of the rigorous expectations of this certification, we created and improved components of our volunteer programming, such as completing the first-ever LifePath volunteer-satisfaction survey and a volunteer handbook.”
Research conducted by the TCC Group, a national program-evaluation firm, found that organizations operating as service enterprises outperform peer organizations on all aspects of organizational effectiveness and are more adaptable, sustainable, and capable of scaling their work.
“The service-enterprise process allowed LifePath to take an objective look at our volunteer systems and identify and act on areas for improvement,” said Lynne Feldman, director of Community Services and planner at LifePath. “As an organization with a 49-year history, through the assessment and training process, we found many processes and practices in need of modernization, simplification, and improvement. As a result, our programs are stronger, volunteers are better-supported, and consumers are more satisfied.”