Community Leadership Initiative Program from CLASS is designed to incubate future community leaders among the volunteer professionals by first encouraging them to demonstrate initiative in solving community based problems and then instituting a structured program to help them develop their leadership skills. Leadership depends on having a unique vision, making strategic choices, finding the right tools and people to do the job, and enabling an organization to get it done. Through its team based and mentorship approach CLASS encourages volunteers to take increasing level of responsibility with each project and take initiative to solve managerial problems faced by the NPOs.
The Community Leadership Initiative program is based on findings from research conducted by CLASS among volunteer professionals. The research was conducted among a sample size of about 300, spread over people from various age, income and experience levels. CLI is tailored to address just these issues faced by volunteer professionals.
Reasons for volunteering
Below is the recent findings of the information collected from volunteers by CLASS.
CLI is developed along the following lines:
Fulfilling Volunteer Professional’s needs: The most important aspect of the Leadership Development Initiative is focus towards meeting the needs stated by volunteer professionals. CLASS operates on the principle that all volunteers provide service to the community due to two sets of reasons – giving back to the community and personal satisfaction/development. CLASS attracts and retains volunteers by providing them with an opportunity to give back to the community in a more meaningful and productive way and also ensuring that this program meets the needs as captured in the survey.
Initiative Driven Approach: CLASS’s modus operandi is to empower the volunteer professionals to take charge and demonstrate initiative, a key component of leadership skills. CLASS enables volunteer professionals to go to a NPO and become a solution provider rather than simply donating time and skill. This instillation in volunteers of a sense of responsibility to the community, while providing them with opportunities to develop and exhibit abilities, is an integral part of the CLASS approach. This may provide an opportunity not available to the volunteer in their professional setting.
Team-based activities: Leadership means leading a group of people through vision. Leadership requires followers and group management skills. CLASS provides the volunteer professionals the opportunity to develop the people management skills and ability to lead a group of professionals without any formal lines of authority or coercion, a skill that is so essential for a successful leader.
Performance Management and increasing levels of Responsibilities: CLASS provides not only the opportunity to develop and demonstrate leadership skills, it also provides a structured and time-bound path to enable a volunteer professional to move through an on-job training regime as they take increasing level of responsibilities and progress from an Consultant to a Manager to a Director. The most important aspect of this progression is that each volunteer professional will have to earn this position based on the team acceptance as well as commitment to excellence demonstrated in previous projects.
Based on these criteria, the Leadership Development Initiative provides all volunteer professionals with a program that provides them with a structured working platform, well defined processes for working as a team, a knowledge bank to refer to, best practices to help them evaluate their quality processes and regular training programs.