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Inclusive Volunteerism

Request for Proposals: Small Grants for Building Nonprofit Infrastructure Around Racial Equity in Volunteerism

The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) is pleased to issue a Request for Proposals for nonprofit organizations located in the Twin Cities East Metro that are culturally-led or primarily serve communities of color to propose projects that will build infrastructure for volunteerism that is inclusive of all racial and ethnic communities and dismantles systems that perpetuate inequity in volunteer engagement. This initiative is funded by a grant from the Bigelow Foundation.

MAVA will be holding informational webinars to provide more details and answer questions about the RFP:

  • Organizations must be culturally-led and/or primarily serve communities of color.
  • Organizations must have a service geography that includes the East Metro area of the Twin Cities (Ramsey, Dakota or Washington County), but office location may be outside this area.
  • Organizations with an annual organizational budget of less than $1 million are eligible to apply.
Benefits of Participating
  • Receive a $5,000 grant.
  • Gain peer support from other organizations seeking to build or strengthen a volunteer program that is racially inclusive and equitable.
  • Utilize MAVA's expertise in inclusive volunteerism through partnership and consulting services.
  • Have opportunity for up to two staff to attend one free MAVA training during the grant period.
  • Contribute to developing, implementing and documenting new and innovative systems-changing strategies for advancing racial equity in volunteerism.
  • Gain visibility for your organizations for innovations in inclusive engagement of volunteers.
  • RFP released: January 8, 2019
  • Proposals due: Monday, February 11, 2019
  • Notification of awards: March 1, 2019
  • Grants start: March 11, 2019
  • Grants wrap up: November 15, 2019
  • Grant reports due: December 9, 2019
Download the full RFP here: MAVA RFP - Building Infrastructure for Equity in Volunteerism 2019.
Download the proposal template here: 2019 MAVA Inclusive Volunteerism Grant Application

Questions? Please contact Lisa Joyslin, Inclusive Volunteerism Program Manager, at

About MAVA's Inclusive Volunteerism Initiative

Many nonprofit and government organizations struggle to engage volunteers who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the communities they serve. In response to this issue, MAVA has launched our Inclusive Volunteerism Initiative, a program focused on researching and developing best practices for engaging volunteers from diverse and immigrant communities. 

Ongoing activities of this initiative, ways you can get involved, and research products/findings are outlined below. If you have questions please contact Lisa Joyslin, Inclusive Volunteerism Program Manager, at

Thank you to the St. Paul Foundation for funding this initiative.

8 Strategies for Creating a More Inclusive Volunteer Program

MAVA has developed a set of 8 strategies for creating a more inclusive volunteer program at your organization. These strategies serve as a starting point for volunteer engagement leaders who are seeking concrete next steps for better engaging volunteers from diverse and immigrant communities.

There are several ways to access this report:
Executive Summary - Engaging Volunteers from Diverse and Immigrant Communities
Click here to download the full report (free for MAVA members)


MAVA has convened an Inclusive Volunteerism Task Force to explore barriers to volunteer engagement within diverse communities and successful strategies for overcoming these barriers. The Task Force is made up of community representatives from culturally-specific organizations, volunteer managers for programs serving the East Metro, and community volunteers. If you're interested in learning more about the Task Force and receiving information about joining, please contact Lisa Joyslin at

MAVA is also conducting ongoing research in the form of interviews and case studies. If your organization is interested in meeting with MAVA to share your experiences with engaging volunteers from racially and ethnically diverse communities, please contact Lisa Joyslin at and she will be in touch to schedule a time to connect.

Training and Consulting

MAVA created a training curriculum around the 8 Strategies for Creating a More Inclusive Volunteer Program. The training will be presented at MAVA's 2018 Annual Conference (June 6-8 in St. Paul) and is also available on a contract basis either in-person or via webinar.

MAVA is also available for consulting work around inclusive volunteerism. If your organization or government is seeking guidance in recruiting volunteers from diverse communities or creating a more inclusive volunteer program, please reach out and we will be happy to discuss our consulting opportunities and how they may fit with your needs.