Boosting — and measuring — the impact of volunteers

Name: Marcia Hope Goodwin

Title: Chief Service Officer & Director of Community Affairs

City: Orlando, Fla.

For almost all of her 27 years working for the city of Orlando, Marcia Hope Goodwin has served in roles focused on engaging residents in the work of local government. While Orlando has always been a leader in this area, Goodwin said she’s seen lots of things evolve over the years. “What I’ve seen change is how civic engagement is a hallmark of government now,” she said. “You simply can’t have good government without actively pursuing citizen engagement.”

Goodwin leads Orlando’s efforts around impact volunteerism, through a strategy called Orlando Cares. It launched in 2011, with support from Cities of Service. It’s since marshalled the energies of thousands of residents to read to kids, help children learn gardening, and perform other volunteer activities aligned with the city’s goals.

Now, as part of an effort to make Orlando “the easiest city in the country to volunteer in,” Goodwin is working on a new digital service to streamline the experience of signing up to volunteer. Eventually, there will be a centralized application for residents to identify their interests and availability, which Goodwin expects to produce a bigger base of volunteers for the city’s partner organizations to tap into. It also will help those partners collect better data on the impact their volunteers are making — a big boost for them when it comes to fundraising.

“It will help them explain the value of their volunteers,” Goodwin said. “That’s evident for those of us who work with volunteers, but it’s easier when you can show how you moved the needle and what has changed for the better as a result of having these volunteers in place.”

Pro tip:

“Be open to change and growth. Everything that comes in your path has something good to offer and something you can learn from.”

Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program.

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