Resources for Volunteers
If you're among the group of OCF volunteers, you'll find resources here to help your volunteer efforts. There are no volunteer opportunities open at this time, but please connect with us to share your interest.
Volunteer Orientation Video
OCF Orientation Guide [PDF]
The Oregon Community Foundation’s Leadership Councils are vital to fulfilling the OCF’s mission to improve lives for all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. Volunteer members understand the importance and power of OCF and how it can best help meet local needs and concerns. Eight volunteer regional councils represent all of Oregon.
Council members have a commitment to public service and charitable activities. They have an interest in promoting private philanthropy to support those activities. Members have a general knowledge of the region, its nonprofit sector, and its community needs.
Members represent OCF in their communities and attend two Leadership Council meetings per year. Each Leadership Council reflects Oregon’s diversity, and is flexible in its approach to solutions. Leadership Council activities include:
- Sharing personal and professional knowledge of community needs
- Guiding OCF's Community Grant Program on local grant priorities
- Strengthening Oregon’s economy and communities in cooperation with the OCF board committees by convening leaders, making grants and leveraging additional philanthropic resources
- Promoting philanthropy and assisting in the development of philanthropic funds
- Meeting with other Leadership Councils to foster statewide understanding, discuss statewide trends and issues, and report on strategic initiatives
- Recommending future action by OCF and the philanthropic community
Council Member Qualifications
Leadership council members should demonstrate an appreciation for a variety of charitable activities in the community, and an interest in promoting private philanthropy to support those activities. Members must be willing to represent OCF in their communities and to attend leadership council meetings. Members should have a general knowledge of the region and its nonprofit sector, as well as an understanding of the variety and complexity of community needs. A term on a leadership council lasts three years, renewable once.
Grant evaluators conduct thorough assessments of grant applications, providing objective, thoughtful, and relevant information for a multi-faceted decision-making process guided by the foundation’s funding objectives. Grant evaluators provide insight into their region’s needs and nonprofit sector, and bring a unique understanding of local communities to the review process. Evaluators operate in regional teams with support from each other and OCF staff.
Community Grant Evaluators
OCF recruits and trains volunteers to help evaluate Community Grant proposals. This is a broad statewide grants program responsive to community-identified needs. Volunteers assess grant applications from their region and meet at OCF’s closest regional office. The program has two grant cycles per year, and evaluators are busy August/September and February/March. OCF awards about $6 million per year through this program, with most grants being $5,000 to $50,000.
Grant Evaluator Responsibilities
- Become conversant with grant program guidelines and review practices
- Read and analyze grant applications
- Conduct fact-finding interviews, usually including in-person visits with applicants
- Research community issues and best practices
- Produce oral and written reports and analyses for OCF staff, committees, and board members
- Potentially conduct follow-up reviews to assess the outcomes after the grant period ends
Grant Evaluator Qualifications
Qualities sought include curiosity, openness, willingness to learn, intercultural skills and respect, and interest in problem-solving and innovation. OCF typically does not accept evaluators who are professional grant writers, consultants to or employees of nonprofits as these pose a conflict of interest. Critical skills and traits include:
- Awareness of the diversity and complexity of communities and the nonprofit sector
- Ability to analyze grant applications objectively
- Ability to communicate concisely, both orally and in writing
- Experience as a nonprofit staff or board member
Grant evaluators commit to serve for two years but may serve much longer. The work is seasonal, focused on the foundation’s spring and fall funding cycles for Community Grants or spring cycle for the Walker Fund. The effort of a typical Community Grant cycle is spread over three to four weeks. Most evaluators review three proposals per cycle, representing a time commitment of 20-40 hours, not including travel time:
- Attend assignment meeting to get OCF updates & proposals to review: 1-2 hours
- Review & analyze proposals; formulate questions for nonprofit interviews: 5-9 hours
- Conduct nonprofit interviews/site visits: 4-6 hours
- Conduct online research & talk with each applicant's partners : 2-6 hours
- Summarize research & analysis (on review worksheets/forms): 4-11 hours
- Attend report-out meeting to discuss proposal assessments: 3-4 hours
- Finalize grant application assessments: 1-2 hours
Volunteers must have the flexibility to conduct some activities during working hours, such as site visits to applicant agencies, investigative phone calls, and travel to and participation in two regional team meetings each cycle.
A smaller group of volunteer grant evaluators – with experience and availability – participate in the first review of grant applications. These “first-readers” assess about 10 proposals each and then discuss them with staff in group meetings or by phone. The first review process requires an additional 20-30 hours per cycle for each first-reader.
Location & Travel
Grant Evaluators attend regional meetings and conduct site visits in their region, with guidance from regional program staff. Mileage/travel expense reimbursement is available on request. Meetings are held at OCF’s regional offices, as noted below:
- Southern Oregon evaluators meet at the OCF Medford office
- Southern Willamette Valley and South Coast evaluators meet at the OCF Eugene office
- Central Oregon evaluators meet at the OCF Bend office
- Metropolitan Portland, North Coast, and Northern Willamette Valley evaluators meet at the OCF Portland office
OCF provides a grant evaluator handbook, orientation and training related to program guidelines and the review process. Ongoing education occurs at regular meetings and includes updates on OCF, the review process, and areas of interest for evaluators. A statewide training for volunteers generally occurs every two years.
Walker Fund Grant Evaluators
OCF also engages volunteers to evaluate applications to the Reed and Carolee Walker Fund, a permanent endowment with earnings to be used exclusively to support programs for the needy in Jackson County. The process and schedule vary slightly but most activities occur in February/March, and OCF awards about $2 million per year through this program.
Contact Sonja McKenzie, community engagement coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 227-6846 or contact the OCF office in your region. OCF is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. We strive to maintain a diverse volunteer corps and promote effective work in partnership with all communities and population groups in Oregon. We welcome a diverse pool of qualified applicants to volunteer positions.
Scholarship Advisory Committees
The Foundation places a high priority on education and works to ensure that all Oregonians have the resources available for post-secondary education. OCF administers the largest and most diverse community foundation scholarship programs in the United States; over 1,100 volunteers serve on scholarship advisory committees throughout Oregon. Scholarship selection committees use scholarship eligibility criteria while reviewing applications and then make recommendations within the available spending policy.
- Apply the unique guidelines of the fund while reviewing applications
- Read, discuss, and select the awardees as a committee in a fair and objective manner
- Protect the privacy of students by keeping their information confidential
- Declare any conflicts of interest that arise when an applicant under consideration is someone related to you or someone with a professional or financial connection with you
- Return the appropriate awarding paperwork to OCF or the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion, OSAC, as direct in the packet
Tasks for the Selection Committee
- Ensure the donor’s intent, as spelled out in the scholarship guidelines/checklist, is honored during the selection process
- If the donor has left the purpose of the scholarship fairly broad, develop specific criteria as a committee to reduce the applicant pool to an appropriate size
- Unless the donor has specified a particular amount for each scholarship, recommend the amount for each recipient selected (preferably $1,000 or more per award)
- In all cases, scholarship recommendations are forwarded to the OCF Education Committee for final approval
- Experience reviewing scholarship applications (preferred)
- Knowledge of college student financial aid issues (preferred)
- Experience working within volunteer committees
- Detail oriented, and timely in follow through
Scholarship advisory committee members commit to serve for two years but may serve much longer. The effort of a typical committee is spread over two to four weeks. The time commitment can vary widely depending on the fund and how many students qualify.
- Review & analyze applications: 2-10 hours over two to four weeks
- Attend committee meeting to discuss proposal assessments: 1-2 hours
Recruitment for scholarship committees typically occurs between March and June.
The 2021 Scholarship Volunteer Handbook provides OCF scholarship program and general selection information to OCF scholarship volunteers.
Special Projects and Advisors
Community Fund Advisors
Community field of interest funds are developed by individuals or groups of donors to address a particular community need or geographic focus. Community fund advisors develop recommendations for program direction and grant recipients.
Sonja McKenzie, CVA Community Engagement Coordinator, Volunteers,
email@example.com, (503) 227-6846.