veterans in national service with ala c2sc survey results final by 0m63vv


									 American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps Consortium
  Building and Coordinating Volunteer Capacity to Serve Veterans, Military Servicemembers and Their Families

                   Survey of Veterans in National Service with
                  American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps
                                               March 2012

Purpose — Determine what attracted current ALA Call to Service Corps members who are
veterans into veteran-focused national and community service in order to customize
service opportunity outreach to veterans.

Method — The survey was conducted in March 2012, and sent by email attachment to all
ALA Call to Service Corps members in active service that had served in the military. The
survey consisted of open-ended questions about AmeriCorps/national service specifically
and volunteer service generally.

Responses Received — Four respondents of six eligible respondents (four AmeriCorps
VISTA members and two AmeriCorps National members; three Army, one Navy, one Air
Force and one Coast Guard). Response rate: 66 percent. Respondents are coded i, ii, iii and
iv. Responses are as the respondents wrote them, with some grammatical editing.

Findings —
Serving through AmeriCorps/National Service
   1. What was your primary reason for deciding to join AmeriCorps/national service?
         i. Wanted to serve something greater then myself.
        ii. Wanted to gain civilian experience.
       iii. My passion to assist my fellow military colleagues with the support they need
             to be successful.
       iv.   Wanted to serve my country again.

   2. Did you consider other volunteer opportunities before choosing AmeriCorps? If so,
      what were they?
         i. Was strongly interested in Mission Continues [Fellowship Program] but [I
            wanted something longer than] the 26 week program at the time without
            possible extension. The stipend is right on mark and they only require 20
            hours a week.
        ii. No, I did not.
       iii. A historical group and basic community services.
Veterans in National Service with ALA C2SC Survey Results, pg. 2

          iv.      No. When I learned about AmeriCorps, I knew I wanted to do it.

    3. Were you primarily motivated to join because you wanted to serve the military
       community specifically or did you join for another reason?
          a. If you joined to serve the military community: What did you want to achieve
             through serving the community?
                 i. I have an interest in nonprofits after being a case manager at the Red
                     Cross handling programs very similar to my sponsor organization’s
                     efforts. My hope is that I could make a difference.
                ii. Yes — to gain current knowledge and use it to assist the military
              iii. I wanted to make it easier for veterans to make the transition from
                     service to academia.

                b. If you joined for another reason: What reason was that? Please elaborate.
                       i. I waited a year on unemployment while searching for an opportunity
                           with a nonprofit focused on support of active duty and veterans and
                           their families. Unemployment paid more than AmeriCorps.
                      ii. I joined to garner experience in the civilian sector.

    4. What attracted you to your ALA C2SC position? Did you have any reservations about
       joining? If so, what were they and what do you think of them now?
          i. The unknown stipend was a big issue and, to be honest, I regret it at this
              point because of the taxes being held. Second, the application and hiring
              process was confusing and very unclear at points. But, to answer the
              question, the ad from my sponsor organization on Craigslist for the position
              was what attracted me.
         ii. My VA counselor informed me about the organization and the positions. No, I
              had no reservation.
        iii. The mission. No reservations.
        iv.   I was attracted to my ALA C2SC position for the opportunity to work within
              the veterans’ space. I had reservations about living in my service area with so
              little money. I still think my service area is far too expensive for a VISTA

    5. Where there any particular benefits of AmeriCorps service that motivated you to
       join (living stipend, education award, non-competitive status, etc.)?
          i. No, as the stipend was unknown to me when I applied. AmeriCorps was just a
               vessel to get into my sponsor organization.
         ii. The education was a big favor for me because I thought I could use it to assist
               my son.
Veterans in National Service with ALA C2SC Survey Results, pg. 3

          iii.   None.
          iv.    All of the benefits helped with the decision to join but none were a
                 motivating factor. I knew I wanted to do this before I learned about the
                 benefits. They just made the decision to join easier.

    6. Has participation in AmeriCorps/national service made a difference in your life? If
       so, please explain.
          i. Financial loss.
         ii. Participating in AmeriCorps/national service has made a tremendous
               difference in my life. It has given me the opportunity to learn the civilian side
               of HR in a less threatening way. It’s similar to on-the-job training. Not having
               the experience to match up with my education left me at a great disadvantage
               with my peers.
        iii. Too early to tell, but my first impressions are positive.
        iv.    Yes it has. It has been a great opportunity to learn about volunteer service,
               and the NGO community as a whole.

    7. Do you consider your AmeriCorps experience to be valuable work experience that
       you would include on a resume? Why or why not?
          i. Unsure at this point. I will state that I brought more to the table than
             AmeriCorps did and my sponsor organization needed someone like myself;
             but they also need a culture change.
         ii. I would most definitely include my experience in my future resume. I have
             gained a plethora of information and I now have a wealth of knowledge I
             gained from my current organization.
        iii. Yes, because of the excellent and current training, I would use it in a resume.
        iv.  Yes I do. It shows my dedication to a project/cause.

    8. What specific advice would you give for recruiting veterans into
       AmeriCorps/national service?
          i. Focus on retired [veterans] as it appears that most nonprofits are not geared
             for training others and need experienced folk to fill slots. Recently released
             military [servicemembers] could be players, but the mindset of most
             nonprofits is counter [to] the “get-it-done” attitude the members lived while
             on active duty.
         ii. Come with an open mind and be enthusiastic about gaining a wealth of
             experience. This is experience you can use to boost your confidence.
        iii. Use other veterans when feasible.
        iv.  Don’t focus on the benefits package. Veterans are motivated by the
             opportunity to create positive change in their world. Stick to the message
             when recruiting them — it will have more traction.
Veterans in National Service with ALA C2SC Survey Results, pg. 4

Volunteering through Community Service
   1. Did you feel like you were ready to begin volunteering in your community
      immediately after you separated from the military or was there a transitional
      period? If there was a transitional period, how long was this period?
         i. I think a breather is needed to sort out things. Probably at least 90 days. But I
             also think this or Mission Continues would be a great way to transition.
        ii. After separating from the military, I continued my volunteer work, but I had
             to also make a living. I was volunteering at the Samms Shelter and also
             serving with the Boys and Girls Club. I also went back to school and
             participated in substitute teaching. However, the AmeriCorps allowance
             made it more appealing to volunteer. There was never a period that I was not
             volunteering or working for pay.
       iii. No transitional period.
       iv.   I was ready immediately after I separated from service, I felt that I had
             valuable skills and the motivation to make a meaningful contribution to
             society. No one asked me to volunteer, so I didn’t.

    2. How did you come to volunteer in your community? Did someone ask you or did you
       look for an opportunity?
          i. I sought out organizations that provided aid to veterans and active duty.
         ii. I learned about AmeriCorps through a television program. In the show,
              someone made fun of the AmeriCorps project. Another person then
              described AmeriCorps, how the volunteers took time off to go and work in
              the most impoverished and sometimes dangerous communities in the
              country and did it for no economic incentive, and that if anything they
              deserved medals for their attempts to change their nation. It sounded right
              up my alley.

             a. What veterans and/or military service organizations or government agencies
                (ex. The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Blue Star Families,
                Operation Homefront, Student Veterans of America, VA, etc.) have presented
                you with volunteer opportunities, if any? If so, what types of opportunities
                did they offer? Which opportunities appealed to you and why?
                     i. Worked a grant for Red Cross focused on service members and
                        veterans in conjunction with the program. I assisted Soldiers’ Angels,
                        Airman Courage, Operation Homefront and other nonprofits.
                    ii. I was not aware of any of the above organizations, but I have
                        volunteered in several other organizations, including volunteering at
                        the Fisher House at Fort Sam Houston.
                   iii. To work with homeless veterans.
Veterans in National Service with ALA C2SC Survey Results, pg. 5

                     iv. No, I have never been contacted by any VSO with an opportunity to

             b. Did faith-based or educational institutions play a role in recruiting you into
                community service? If so, please describe how they were successful.
                     i. Faith-based could have encouraged me, but was not a player.
                    ii. No, faith-based or educational institutions did not play a role. Even
                         though I attend a church and am very active in it.
                  iii. Both played a role.
                   iv.   No, they did not play a role in recruiting me into community service.

    3. Do you feel like there were volunteer opportunities that matched the skills or values
       you learned in the military and your education? Why or why not?
          i. Being a 20-year recruiter with senior management, sales and communication
              skills could help anyone.
         ii. There were volunteer opportunities that matched my skills or values I
              learned in the military and my education.
        iii. Yes, because the skills I learned in the military were mostly based on
              working and assisting others.
        iv.   I know for a fact that there are. To my knowledge, none were ever presented
              to me and the few times I asked, I was given the impression that I was not

    4. Do you consider your community service experience a good way to transition
       military and civilian life?
          i. Yes and no. Depends on the direction you want to travel — volunteering can
              always lose its way if financial needs are greater.
         ii. Yes, I consider my community service experience a good way to transition
              from military to civilian life. Serving your community in any capacity is a very
              good idea.
        iii. Yes. I think this would be an excellent first step for some.
        iv.   YES!! This is an excellent way for members of the military community to
              transition from service to civilian life.

    5. Do you have any specific advice for recruiting veterans into community service?
          i. I could give a list but, the truth be told, with gas prices on the rise I fully see
             less volunteerism as spare dollars are absorbed away on cost of living
         ii. No, but giving back is always empowering.
        iii. Attend a lot of meetings and network, network, network.
Veterans in National Service with ALA C2SC Survey Results, pg. 6

          iv. Find a volunteer opportunity and stick with it for a year — you’ll have your
              eyes opened to a whole other way to serve.
Conclusions —
    1. Most members reported their primary motivation for joining the ALA Call to
        Service Corps was to serve the military community and had not considered any
        similar programs. The member that solely reported joining for another reason
        cited their desire to gain experience in the civilian sector.
    2. All of the members cited the mission and/or sponsor organization as what
        attracted them to national service with the ALA Call to Service Corps.
    3. Benefits were not a factor in motivating members to enter an AmeriCorps national
        service assignment.
    4. Overall, members rated their national service as valuable work experience they
        could use on a resume. For example, one member felt their assignment provided
        them the experience that matched their education.
    5. Members felt that they were willing to volunteer in their community with little to
        no transition time after separating from the military and that it was a good way to
        transition to civilian life. However, they felt that veterans and military service
        organizations, government agencies and faith-based and educational institutions
        generally did not play a role in recruiting them into community service.
    6. All members reported that they felt volunteer opportunities existed that matched
        the skills or values they learned either in the military or their education.
    7. For recruiting veterans:
            a. Into national service, members suggested using other veterans to promote
                the program, focusing on all veterans and highlighting the mission of the
                ALA Call to Service Corps.
            b. Into community service, members suggested utilizing veterans in
                empowering, long-term opportunities and promoting opportunities at
                various meetings.
            c. We recommend building relationships with organizations and agencies
                connected to the military community in the nonprofits’ geographic area to
                spread the word to veterans. This means building relationships with the
                VA, veteran student groups, veterans service organizations (such as the
                VFW and The American Legion), local military bases and other military
                focused organizations.
            d. Members had a low level of awareness of the AmeriCorps program prior to
                starting their community service. Most respondents had to look on their
                own for service opportunities. Only one respondent was informed of
                AmeriCorps as an option by the VA. Working with the VA, plus similar
                government agencies (for example: military career offices, military base
                family support units, etc) and large veteran and military focused nonprofits
                (VFW, The American Legion), would seem an efficient way to increase
                veterans’ awareness of AmeriCorps opportunities. If possible, it might be
                beneficial to see if AmeriCorps can be introduced to servicemembers
                before they leave the military through any type of existing transitional
                process from military to civilian life. Many smaller nonprofits may not have
                the resources to make extensive contacts with the military community. The
Veterans in National Service with ALA C2SC Survey Results, pg. 7

                  Corporation for National and Community Service could help by promoting
                  AmeriCorps to groups like the VA.
               e. All the respondents cited their primary motivation as helping veterans, but
                  the AmeriCorps application portal does not have the option to filter for
                  military focused service opportunities.
               f. The primary reasons all the respondents cited for entering service was to
                  serve the veteran and military community. Overall, respondents were
                  positive towards AmeriCorps as a transitional experience from military to
                  civilian life. We recommend that recruitment materials directed towards
                  veterans focus on these two concepts to recruit veterans into AmeriCorps.

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