AmeriCorps Seniors Data in Action Newsletter: Fall Edition


AmeriCorps Seniors
Sept. 7, 2023

AmeriCorps Seniors Data in Action Newsletter: Fall Edition 

Convening 2023

AmeriCorps Seniors Convening 2023

Message From the Director

Dear colleagues,

We are just weeks away from the beginning of the fiscal year. In our second quarterly newsletter you can find training, research, and evaluation resources to increase evidence capacity at your organization.

Check out:

  • key takeaways from our AmeriCorps Seniors Convening;
  • new research on how to recruit and retain volunteers; and
  • useful tools and resources for capacity building.

We are excited to learn and grow with you as we build evidence that demonstrates our impact on communities across our nation.

In service,

Atalaya Sergi, Director
AmeriCorps Seniors

AmeriCorps Seniors 2023 Convening Update 

The 2023 AmeriCorps Seniors Convening, "Growing Together: Uniting America Through Service." brought together nearly 900 attendees from across the nation for three days to learn, build networks, and inspire new project ideas. Together, we developed new ways to engage AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers, learned how to better identify and serve the needs of our communities, and heard directly from volunteers whose lives were changed from their service.

More than 25 sessions provided important training and tools to effectively run your AmeriCorps Seniors program.

  • Evaluating COVID-19 Effects on Senior Volunteers and AmeriCorps Seniors Programs: AmeriCorps Seniors recently commissioned a three-year evaluation on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project team shared information about the design of the evaluation, preliminary analysis, and opportunities for AmeriCorps Seniors stations and volunteers to contribute to this study.
  • Measuring Performance, Collecting Data, and Demonstrating Impact (Education Focus and Independent Living Focus): More than just helping grantees fill out their annual Performance Progress Report, this training helps grantees make sure their goals are serving the needs of their communities. 
  • Exploring the AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Capacity Building Performance Measures: This session dived into capacity building performance measures with an emphasis on exploring real-life examples of work plans. 

All About Volunteers

What Motivates Volunteers to Serve? 

How can programs recruit new volunteers and retain their volunteers to ensure they meet their program goals? AmeriCorps Seniors, with our partners at JBS International, conducted a study to examine volunteers’ motivation to serve in the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs. This study provides valuable insights into what motivates volunteers and how grantees can tailor their recruitment messages to inspire people to volunteer.

The study found that:

  • the primary motivation for volunteering is altruism – volunteers are motivated to help others and make an impact on their community; and
  • in addition to altruism, volunteers reported motivation of learning new skills, making new friends, keeping busy, or a financial incentive to earn extra money. 

When you are developing a message to recruit new volunteers, remember to use these insights to keep your volunteers motivated. Focus on the great work your program is doing for your community as well as the benefits to volunteers such as making new friends or the stipend.

Read more

Virtual Volunteering and Other Strategies that Increase Access to Volunteering Among Older Adults

Research underscores the positive health and well-being experienced by older adults who volunteer. The COVID-19 pandemic increased health and isolation risks for older adults and threatened the connection that older adults have with traditional on-site volunteer assignments. As a result, many community-based programs that depend on volunteers had to adapted to changing conditions by including more virtual volunteer opportunities.

To better understand virtual volunteering in a post-pandemic world, AmeriCorps Seniors and the AmeriCorps Office of Research and Evaluation is working with the University of Maine, under the direction of Jennifer Crittenden, Ph.D., to conduct a three-year study to help us better understand how virtual volunteering is currently being utilized as well as the benefits and challenges of virtual volunteerism.

Tools for Grantees 

Evidenced Based Strategies and Practices  

AmeriCorps Seniors is committed to helping grantees with research-backed tools and resources to help you better serve your community. That is why we are excited to share the Economic Mobility Catalog created by Results for America.

The Economic Mobility Catalog includes:

  • an extensive collection of tested strategies;
  • case studies; and
  • example programs.

You will find strategies grouped by issue with short descriptions and links to outcomes. For example, under the issue of “K-12 education,” one identified strategy is after school programs. By clicking on this strategy, you will find:

  • descriptions of possible goals or outcomes of this strategy;
  • research backed evidence to support this strategy as an effective approach;
  • ways to evaluate if this strategy works for your program; and
  • how a program could effectively implement it.

View the Catalog

Build Your Organization's Evidence Capacity

Are You Ready to Grow Your Organization’s Impact?  

Utilize the AmeriCorps "Scaling Checklists: Assessing Your Level of Evidence and Readiness" tool. This tool guides community-based organizations through a self-assessment process to understand their readiness to scale their interventions and increase their community impact. Key steps in the process include identifying evidence of the intervention’s effectiveness, building evidence of effectiveness if it is not currently available, and assessing readiness to scale. The tool offers resources for every step along the way.

View More Resources