“Making initiatives successful is all about focus and passionate commitment. The drumbeat must be relentless. Every leadership action must demonstrate total commitment to the initiative.” (Jack Welch)

Community Leadership Initiative Program

CLASS is a unique nonprofit management consulting firm that serves volunteers as a part of its core mission. Keeping in line with its dual-market focus, CLASS serves volunteer professionals while they serve the NPOs through CLASS. After all, CLASS was founded in response to the problems that its founders faced while volunteering as volunteer professionals.

The aim of CLASS is to inspire and empower enterprising and imaginative people in the community to become Community Leaders and provide them with unparalleled opportunities for professional and personal growth.

The Community Leadership Initiative Program from CLASS is designed to incubate future community leaders among the volunteer professionals by first encouraging them to demonstrate initiative in solving community based problems and then instituting a structured program to help them develop their leadership skills. Leadership depends on having a unique vision, making strategic choices, finding the right tools and people to do the job, and enabling an organization to get it done. Through its team based and mentorship approach CLASS encourages volunteers to take increasing level of responsibility with each project and take initiative to solve managerial problems faced by the NPOs.

Approach

The Community Leadership Initiative program is based on findings from research conducted by CLASS among volunteer professionals. The research was conducted among a sample size of about 300, spread over people from various age, income and experience levels. CLI is tailored to address just these issues faced by volunteer professionals.

Reasons for volunteering

Below is the recent findings of the information collected from  volunteers by CLASS.
why-vol 

CLI is developed along the following lines:

  • Fulfilling Volunteer Professional’s Needs: The most important aspect of the Leadership Development Initiative is focus towards meeting the needs stated by volunteer professionals. CLASS operates on the principle that all volunteers provide service to the community due to two sets of reasons – giving back to the community and personal satisfaction/development. CLASS attracts and retains volunteers by providing them with an opportunity to give back to the community in a more meaningful and productive way and also ensuring that this program meets the needs as captured in the survey.
  • Initiative Driven Approach: CLASS’s modus operandi is to empower the volunteer professionals to take charge and demonstrate initiative, a key component of leadership skills. CLASS enables volunteer professionals to go to a NPO and become a solution provider rather than simply donating time and skill. This instillation in volunteers of a sense of responsibility to the community, while providing them with opportunities to develop and exhibit abilities, is an integral part of the CLASS approach. This may provide an opportunity not available to the volunteer in their professional setting.
  • Team-based Activities: Leadership means leading a group of people through vision. Leadership requires followers and group management skills. CLASS provides the volunteer professionals the opportunity to develop the people management skills and ability to lead a group of professionals without any formal lines of authority or coercion, a skill that is so essential for a successful leader.
  • Performance Management And Increasing Levels Of Responsibilities: CLASS provides not only the opportunity to develop and demonstrate leadership skills, it also provides a structured and time-bound path to enable a volunteer professional to move through an on-job training regime as they take increasing level of responsibilities and progress from an Consultant to a Manager to a Director. The most important aspect of this progression is that each volunteer professional will have to earn this position based on the team acceptance as well as commitment to excellence demonstrated in previous projects.

Based on these criteria, the Leadership Development Initiative provides all volunteer professionals with a program that provides them with a structured working platform, well defined processes for working as a team, a knowledge bank to refer to, best practices to help them evaluate their quality processes and regular training programs.

Eligibility Criteria

CLASS seeks individuals with passion for community service, outstanding character, a sharp analytical mind, and the ability to work effectively with people at all levels. There are however some preconditions that must be met by all professionals volunteering with CLASS. All CLASS volunteers:

  • Should be a resident of Bay Area or Dallas/Fort Worth.
  • Should either be a graduate or undergraduate in good standing.
  • Should preferably have experience/academic background in the specified practice areas or is working towards attaining a degree towards it. If the volunteer is interesting in working in an area which is not his background then CLASS will offer mentorship and training program specially designed for his/her needs.
  • Should have a sense of humor.
  • Should have the emotional maturity to be able to work in teams without formal hierarchy.
  • Should honor commitments and CLASS’s Code of Ethics

Benefits

Professionals look toward volunteering as a way to give back to their community; CLASS will offer them several benefits based on the unique attributes of the Community Leadership Initiative (CLI) Program:

  • Leadership Development: CLASS offers to all volunteer professionals a unique opportunity to develop their leadership potential. CLASS projects offers these volunteers a risk-free opportunity to try out new roles, experience leadership, explore new ways of connecting with strangers and working along with them in a team and take initiative to solve community problems. CLASS offers the infrastructure, processes and guidelines required for successful execution of the project; hence the volunteers can focus on applying their creativity towards solving the problems at hand. The foremost benefit that CLASS offers to its volunteers is a structured yet risk-free environment to try out leadership skills.
  • Networking Opportunity: CLASS also offers a networking opportunity to volunteers, as all of them are primarily professionals, representing various skill sets and coming from different backgrounds. This mosaic of skill sets and experiences is what brings into play the complementary skill set to each problem, thereby ensuring that the whole is more than the sum of its parts while offering volunteer professionals the opportunity to connect with different people and expand their horizon of contacts.
  • Group based learning: CLASS offers the opportunity for volunteers to try out new skill sets, learn new technologies or practices, maintain and keep current their skill set and explore beyond their boundaries that are usually set in their workplace. CLASS has formal mentorship programs and training programs that will assist new volunteers to quickly integrate into a team and even learn new skills from the mentors, providing professional an opportunity to gain experience in a new or different area of their industry, and/or in completely different industry.
  • Satisfactory Volunteering Experience: CLASS offers, above all else, a satisfying experience to volunteers by providing well-managed projects for well-defined problems and the entire infrastructure to make it possible. This ensures that the time, effort and skill provided by the volunteer professionals are utilized to the best possible extent and that the returns on social investment by these volunteer professionals are maximized.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, CLASS also provides student volunteers with benefits geared specifically at them. It allows students to:

  • Apply classroom-based knowledge to real life situations.
  • Work on a team with experienced professionals.
  • Achieve career goals through experience in fields in which they are interested.
  • Network with potential future employers.
  • Receive feedback regarding their efforts from clients (nonprofit organizations).
  • Have experience to note on resumes and get recommendations.

CLASS functions as a facilitator for these volunteers by linking them with projects that require their expertise. As a result, all volunteers feel good about the time they are contributing and that they are also receiving benefits from their services.

Cost

There is no cost to be part of this program.

Time

A firm commitment for 2-5 months is required at the start of a project for a minimum of 6 hours a week plus 90% attendence at weekly meetings.

For more information, contact our HR Team