connect / 2015
L.A. Works: Volunteers for a Greater LA
Connect to your community through volunteer service with L.A. Works! We are striving to transform Los Angeles by creating a culture of volunteerism that will encourage Angelenos to connect with other volunteers, nonprofit organizations, and the issues they are most passionate about impacting. By growing our Managed Project programming, we will make volunteering even more accessible by having opportunities led by trained L.A. Works volunteers in every neighborhood of Greater Los Angeles.
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- City of Los Angeles
How do you plan to use these resources to make change?
- Conduct research
- Engage residents and stakeholders
- Expand a pilot or a program
How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?
- Rates of volunteerism
- Voting rates by race
- Participation in neighborhood councils
- Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.
Los Angeles ranks an appalling 45th out of 51 major cities in the U.S. for volunteerism. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) research, long commuting times and high poverty rates, as is the case in Los Angeles, can adversely affect volunteering rates.
By utilizing L.A. Works existing managed project model that mitigates the challenges of long commute times to make it easy to volunteer, and expanding our volunteer leadership programming and curriculum, L.A. Works strives to shift the culture of civic engagement in Los Angeles.
At the heart of our organization are our volunteer leaders who manage opportunities each month at our nonprofit partners’ sites – so anyone can make a difference in L.A., regardless of skill-set, interest, age or schedule. Opportunities include conserving natural environments, serving meals to the homeless, offering companionship to seniors, leading athletic sessions with special-needs youth, and reading to children (to name just a few!). Neither the nonprofit partners nor the volunteers are charged to participate.
For nonprofits, this connection provides a critical resource to stretch their budgets, share important information about their missions, and tap volunteers’ unique skill-sets that might not be available or affordable within their staff base.
We hope to expand and deepen these connections by building out the managed program model. L.A. Works’ goal is to move our city up in the national rankings by blanketing LA County with quality volunteer opportunities that are happening every day of the week, at a variety of times of the day. Our vision is to make these opportunities so accessible that people won’t even need to leave their neighborhood to engage in meaningful volunteer work.
L.A. Works Managed Projects are often the “starter project” for people to connect with community service. By not requiring a long-term commitment, the Managed Projects allow volunteers to test out a variety of opportunities until they find the one that best fits their interests. Often, from there, individuals will make a longer-term, deeper connection to the nonprofit organization where they’ve served.
The expansion of Managed Projects will contribute to the ongoing effort to improving Los Angeles. With the help of this award, we hope that in the near future, LA will be thought of as a model for service as much as we are known for entertainment, sports, and our weather.
Please explain how you will evaluate your work.
L.A. Works will evaluate the success of the program through the lens of four important constituents: general volunteers, volunteer leaders, nonprofits, and the clients the nonprofit serves. For the volunteers, volunteer leaders, and nonprofits, L.A. Works will conduct post-project surveys (through a link in the follow-up email to participants) to collect the relevant data in order to track and measure our success in achieving the following desired outcomes. We will ask that the nonprofits provide us with quantitative data on the impact the volunteers have had on their mission and clients served.
Additionally, L.A. Works’ Director of Programs will conduct qualitative and quantitative baseline, formative and summative research using online questionnaires and one-on-one interviews where necessary throughout the grant cycle.
How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?
- Money (financial capital)
- Volunteers/staff (human capital)
- Publicity/awareness (social capital)
- Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
- Network/relationship support
- Quality improvement research