January 26, 2021
Can Volunteers Help Nonprofits Keep Their Community Roots Alive?
by Sue Carter Kahl, contributor, Nonprofit Quarterly

In a 2018 article, nonprofit leader Jan Masaoka called the nonprofit sector to task. She named the growing professionalization of the sector and its reliance on consultants as a step away from nonprofit roots in activism and the causes that drive it. This shift has led to increasing “sophistication” in nonprofit operations, with paid professionals more often at the helm. In many cases, it has also sidelined communities as active participants in nonprofit work.

Is there a way to address this? A renewal of volunteerism may provide one path.
One CEO of a large social service agency with government contracts shared, “Volunteers are a great way that we can reconnect with our advocacy and our social justice roots.” His government contracts emphasize numbers, but he views volunteers as a key part of what (and, more importantly, how) the organization delivers those numbers.

Likewise, the volunteer director of a faith-based agency notes that it is volunteers who give the agency the ability to offer services that are compassionate, caring, and community building. Yet volunteer work is routinely challenged by financial pressures.

These observations and the following perspectives offer insight into the push-and-pull tension that nonprofit leaders experience between the narrow accountability of funded work and the broader accountability to their missions and communities.

Nonprofit Priorities as Functions of Their Instrumental and Expressive Elements

One way to view this tension is as a function of organizations’ instrumental and expressive dimensions. Instrumental elements are practical, achievement oriented, and resource seeking. Expressive elements are symbolic, value oriented, and resource consuming. Wenjue Knutsen and Ralph Brower examined this topic in a study of Canadian nonprofits, and helped paint a picture of how these elements play out in day-to-day life.

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Non-Profit Provisions in Latest COVID Relief Legislation
The Indianapolis Public Transportation Foundation has named Emily Lovison as its new executive director. Lovison previously held fundraising roles at several local nonprofits, including Conner Prairie and 100 Black Men of Indianapolis. 
Purdue Extension-Marion County has hired Kayla Wright as a community development educator. Wright previously worked as a legislative assistant for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus and as a Mayor's Neighborhood Advocate.
Morning Light, Inc., has promoted Madison Gonzalez to advancement director. Gonzalez previously held the position of community involvement and events manager for the organization.
Morning Light, Inc., has promoted Rachael Winbush to home operations director. Winbush previously held the role of home operations manager for the organization. 
EmployIndy has promoted Carla Montgomery to associate director of grants and procurement. Montgomery previously served as the office administrator at EmployIndy.
Indiana Philanthropy Alliance has promoted Sarah Origer to GIFT director of programming, which supports Indiana’s large community foundation field. Origer previous was GIFT program manager for the alliance.  
Lilly Endowment, Inc., has awarded the International Center a $500,000 grant to support its programming and general operations in 2021. Read more

United Way is providing residents relief through the Winter Assistance Fund, an option for those who struggle to afford high heat and electricity bills, but who fall just above the qualifications for the federal Energy Assistance Program. Read more

IndyGo is preparing to move its Open Door paratransit operations to the Haughville neighborhood on Near Westside of Indianapolis. IndyGo had recently purchased two parcels of land for the transition. Read more

The Lumina Foundation has awarded nearly $3.2 million worth of grants to 11 organizations through its $15 million Racial Justice and Equity Fund. Read more
Donation: Desk, chair and hutch suitable for a C-suite office. Contact Kim Reeves at kreeves@browninginv.com. Must arrange for pick up on the west side of Carmel. 

Next week, Charitable Advisors will release its Central Indiana Salary Survey, which will provide insights on how employees in the sector are compensated. Please send your contact information to julie@charitableadvisors.com if you are responsible for completing the survey on behalf of your organization. Emails will be sent on Feb. 2.


The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana have announced a joint investment of $500,000 to launch a community-based initiative to accelerate learning for Marion County students during the summer. The initiative is designed to mitigate learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more
No one’s quite sure what 2021 will bring. But there are two things that are certain: social distancing will continue to be a reality and your donors will continue to believe in your mission.
Research from The Bridgespan Group shows that executive leadership team effectiveness relies on doing five things consistently. 
Our sponsor marketplace serves to further connect our readers with our advertisers who are focused on serving nonprofits. To learn about each sponsor's nonprofit services, click on its logo.

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Executive Director - Dance Kaleidoscope

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Executive Director - Jackson County United Way


Development Database Specialist - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana

Development Coordinator, part-time - Martin Luther King Community Center

Manager of Donor Relations - The Mind Trust


Office Manager (part-time) – Lambda Chi Alpha

Director of Technology & Operations – LifeJourney Church

Administrative Specialist - Indiana Youth Services Association (IYSA)

Operations Coordinator - Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF)

Office Manager - Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Marketing /Communications/Events

Marketing and Communications Manager – Little Red Door Cancer Agency

Content Specialist – Indiana Conference of United Methodist Churches

Guest Relations Manager - Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum


CFO – Jewish Community Center Indianapolis


Coordinator of Student Services – Indiana Association of REALTORS®

Program Officer - The Clowes Fund, Inc.

Program Manager – TeenWorks

Implementation and Training Manager - Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS)

Chief Program Officer of Men - Wheeler Mission (WM)

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Coach - Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana

Licensed Mental Health Clinician (LMHC) - HVAF of Indiana, Inc.

Bilingual Enrollment & Matching Specialist - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana

Career Education and Training Academy Coordinator - Edna Martin Christian Center

Family Success Coach - Edna Martin Christian Center