The Balboa Park Conservancy is proud to announce that it has been certified by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, as a Service Enterprise. Service Enterprise certification is a very prestigious accomplishment and significantly boosts the Conservancy’s efforts to build and train our volunteer team to support a variety of mission-driven programs.

The certification places the Conservancy in the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. It signifies and affirms we indeed have the capability and management expertise to strategically use our highly valued volunteers to help sustain and enhance the park experience for all visitors.

As part of the multiyear process to get certified, the Conservancy completed an extensive assessment of our volunteer programs, capacity, and plans. Key staff and board members also benefited from over 20 hours of training and coaching, as well as a comprehensive internal planning and change process to better integrate our volunteer programs into a human capital strategy. By achieving this level of excellence, we are now better equipped to leverage the time and talent of our volunteers to further some of the most critical components of our mission.

For every $1 invested in volunteer engagement, organizations can expect $3 to $6 in return through more effective program delivery. According to calculations required for the certification, the Conservancy averages $6 for every dollar, representing a 600 percent return on investment. That said, Volunteer Committee Chair and Trustee Glenn Rossman stresses that the ROI isn’t about cost savings: “We do not see the use of volunteers as a way to reduce our expenses. Rather, volunteers empower the Conservancy to extend its mission without extending its budget.”

“The Balboa Park Conservancy being officially recognized by the Points of Light Foundation as a Certified Service Enterprise reflects our commitment to best practices in volunteer stewardship,” says CEO Tomás Herrera-Mishler. “We are building on the strong base established by our volunteer corps in the Balboa Park Visitors Center. We continue to move from strength to strength thanks to our amazing cadre of volunteers.”

The Service Enterprise certification coincides with the grand opening of a recently renovated space in the historic House of Hospitality building to serve as a hub for the Conservancy’s volunteer activities. It is staffed by the Conservancy’s new volunteer coordinator, Audrey Tamayo, an AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Program) Fellow, a position funded through a competitive grant process with support from Jewish Family Services and a private donation. Audrey is currently recruiting, managing, and training new volunteers as part of the Balboa Park Tree Stewards and Park Ambassadors programs. Anyone interested in the Conservancy’s volunteer programs can contact Audrey at audrey@balboapark.org for more information.

The Service Enterprise Initiative is a national change management program that helps organizations gain a greater return on volunteer investment to better achieve their mission.