Analysis of a Volunteer Program at a Federal Agency: Increasing the Volunteer Capacity on the Cleveland National Forest.


Now more than ever, it is essential for federal agencies to embrace the use of volunteers. With more cutbacks in budgets and funding (The Heritage Foundation), we find that on one hand, more organizations, non-profits as well as some federal agencies struggle to achieve their goals and meet the needs of their communities. On the other hand, there are people who are looking for ways to give back to their communities, get credit for school or do pro bono work because they love and enjoy what they do. With these two categories co-existing, a lot of emphasis is put on volunteerism and more people are encouraged to volunteer their time and resources to organizations that need them.

By asking the research question: How can the Cleveland National Forest (CNF), in San Diego County in southern California, increase its volunteer capacity?, this study evaluates the volunteer program for the Cleveland National Forest (CNF), a federal agency and tries to find out if it is practical to have a central volunteer program of the forest and how the forest would effectively work with a volunteer program, if one is created.

As an intern with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), I worked with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (FS) in the southern California province in order to design a province wide volunteer program in an effort to increase the volunteer capacity on the four national forests in Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties.

I interviewed FS staff at the leadership level, mid management and those who worked directly with volunteers. Other participants were employees from the Red Cross and RSVP from where I drew some recommendations. This research will benefit not only the CNF but the Angeles, Los Padres and San Bernardino forests as well; the Forest Service in general and other organizations that use volunteers will benefit from the findings too.


Place and Environment | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Work, Economy and Organizations

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