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Social Capitalists: Points of Light & Hands On Network

43 entrepreneurs who are changing the world
Social Capitalist 2008 Winner

Points of Light & Hands On Network

Michelle Nunn, CEO
Atlanta, Georgia
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On August 1, 2007, The Points of Light Foundation and Hands On Network merged to become an integrated, dynamic new presence in the volunteer sector. Both organizations entered the merger with a strong national reputation, as well as a unique history and set of solutions to offer. The new alliance has a presence in hundreds of communities nationwide, within reach of over 80 percent of the US population. Together, we offer an unmatched blend of ideas, innovation, and expertise, and a powerful commitment to helping citizens to engage, take action, and solve community problems through volunteer service.

Our Long-Term Strategies

Points of Light & Hands On Network has two long-term interlocking strategies to achieve transformational change and fulfill the promise of our organization.

  1. Our network building strategy is to create a unified network of linked civic hubs -– combining our legacy affiliates into a dynamic, integrated system. Our affiliate network forms both a nationwide infrastructure and a local entry point for millions of volunteers and thousands of partner organizations, public and private.
  2. Our movement building strategy is to promote innovative ideas, introduce practical tools within the sector to improve the impact and quality of volunteer experiences, and inspire a culture of service. We aspire to be a catalyst for action, committed to working with others to realize our vision for change.

Our Operational Focus

Because the ultimate manifestation of our work is realized by volunteers, our first and foremost commitment is to inspiring, equipping, and activating individual volunteers. Our focus on the individual volunteer experience reflects our beliefs about how change happens in communities. It is the lens through which we define our value proposition to partners and communities -- and defines the core knowledge and expertise we are seeking to advance in the sector.

Our Unique Value

As we enter a new and exciting phase of our development, our unique long-term contributions to the volunteer sector will be to:

  • Achieve greater impact of volunteers by forging and sustaining dynamic nonprofit partnerships that enhance practice and build knowledge among practitioners.
  • Mobilize corporations to tap the human capital of businesses to achieve impact.
  • Build a powerful network of citizen volunteer leaders equipped to serve as change agents in their local communities.
  • Create a unified network of linked civic hubs prepared to deliver innovative programs and create community impact on a national scale.
  • Provide practical tools and technology to support volunteer engagement across the sector.
  • Provide thought leadership that leads the national dialogue for 21st century civic engagement, bringing new ideas and innovation to the volunteer sector.
  • Inspire a culture of service by elevating stories of volunteer-led community transformation and increasing the recognition of volunteers everywhere.

The ultimate measure of our organization’s success will be whether, in time, we can shift not only citizens’ participation, but their perceptions of service. We envision a day when we can actualize William James’ notion that civic service is the "moral equivalent" of military service. We want to shift our national values to our place where people not only make the time to volunteer, but also believe in service as a pathway to meaningful change, and in its social and political value as an act of citizenship.