Nonprofit has different perspective on double bottom line thanks to volunteers

by Ashley Kasprzak, JVA Consulting

I was recently talking with a group of successful consultants working with all types of nonprofit organizations. We all agreed that a major perk of consulting is the great variety in our jobs. I will add that an even better perk is meeting forward-thinking people who are doing valuable work in their communities. Another way our JVA team thinks about it is like this: We work with people who believe they can change the world.

One example is Dale Dowling, who leads Faith Community Service Fund in Greeley, Colorado. Dale says this about his organization:  “We have two bottom lines: the outcomes with our client families and the outcomes with our volunteers.”

What really grabbed my attention is his unconventional perspective on the bottom line. It shows how greatly integral his volunteers are to the work of Faith Community Service Fund. Moreover, it demonstrates his organization’s belief that real community change takes a village approach.

If you hear Dale talking about a double bottom line, then you will understand where he is coming from. You may also want to ask him about the more traditional interpretation of a double bottom line. Wikipedia describes it like this: Double bottom line is a business term used in socially responsible enterprise and investment. While all businesses have a conventional bottom line to measure their fiscal performance—financial profit or loss—enterprises that seek a second bottom line look to measure their performance in terms of positive social impact. Another formulation is Blended Value promulgated by Jed Emerson, one of the leaders in Social Return on Investment or SROI.


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1 Response to Nonprofit has different perspective on double bottom line thanks to volunteers

  1. jvainside says:

    Ashley, this is really interesting. I’d be interested in learning more how Dale’s group measures the volunteer outcomes.


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