Ohio Conference on Service & Volunteerism


The events of 2020 have brought challenges and uncertainty like no other time in recent memory. We're all making very tough decisions in our organizations on how to engage our volunteers and members, how to keep them safe, how to maintain budgets when fundraisers are cancelled, and how to do so much more with so much less.


Meeting the Moment: Strengthening Service & Volunteerism in Challenging Times

Join us for our FREE virtual conference series where we will explore, navigate, and discuss unique challenges in service and volunteerism right now. Our star lineup of speakers will provide the most up-to-date information and expert advice on how to navigate challenges in this moment. There will also be plenty of opportunities for small group discussion and networking! Big thank you to the Ohio Volunteer Center Association for their sponsorship of this conference series. 


Meet Our Presenters


                   Beth Steinhorn                                               Sierra Austin                                     Jerome Tennille


Session Content

October 8, 2020
1:00 - 3:00 PM

Sustaining and Adapting Volunteer Engagement: Lessons from COVID-19
Presenter: Beth Steinhorn

2020 has been a year of challenge and change – especially regarding engaging volunteers. Yet, such tests also present an opportunity for learning. This session will explore lessons that we can glean from organizations that are thriving despite these circumstances and from those who haven’t been so nimble. Hear case studies of organizations adapting their engagement practices (including virtual volunteering, recruiting new volunteers, and developing new roles entirely) and research and tips to help make the case for sustaining engagement as a strategy to sustain your organization through these challenging times.

October 15, 2020
1:00 - 3:00 PM

Strengthening Relationships and Community in a Virtual World
Presenter: Beth Steinhorn

Whether volunteers serve on-site, off-site, or from their living rooms, ensuring that volunteers feel a part of something bigger than just themselves can transform one- time volunteers into truly engaged and committed volunteers. Nowhere is that more important than when volunteers are serving virtually. In this session, discover tactics to nurture your community of volunteers by structuring virtual roles, leveraging social media, strategically designing communications, checking-in regularly, and celebrating together – even if virtually. Remember, individuals often start volunteering to make a difference, but they stay when they develop relationships and feel a part of a team. So, building those relationships and nurturing community among virtual volunteers today will serve your future well.

October 22, 2020
1:00 - 3:00 PM

Strategies to Identify and Overcome Implicit Bias
Presenter: Sierra Austin

This session is designed for those who seek to learn where their ‘blind spots' are. Implicit bias can be described as the automatic and unconscious associations we make about social groups, often rooted in stereotypes and other harmful ideologies. In many cases, these unconscious associations can influence our behavior, causing us to act/respond in ways that are unintentionally harmful. In fact, research demonstrates that implicit biases exist even in the absence of overt bigotry. Biases shape our social interactions and decision-making processes despite good intentions - even in spaces where nondiscriminatory policies, practices, and standards are embraced. After learning how to assess our blind spots, we will work to begin the journey to continuous self-reflection and disruption. 

View Session Recording

October 29, 2020
1:00 - 3:00 PM

Creating a More Diverse & Inclusive Environment Through the Mechanisms that Engage Volunteers
Presenter: Jerome Tennille

Injecting practices of diversity, equity and inclusion is a must for the long-term sustainability of any institution engaging volunteers. Participants will learn how to more purposefully design volunteer engagement mechanisms within the formalized institutes where they work and support. Participants will understand a foundational level of the following:

  • The historical background of formalized volunteerism through the institutions supported.
  • The practices that can be implemented to increase inclusion of diverse communities you seek for support.
  • Identifying and acknowledging the policies and guidelines within the institutions supported that may adversely affect the diversity of the volunteer populations engaged.

View Session Recording


Conference Planning Committee

  • Ava Carvour - ServeOhio, Columbus
  • Holly Elkins-Lopez - Project Read, Dayton
  • Nadine Gamble – Forum for Volunteer Administrators, Cleveland
  • Elizabeth Garrabrant – Mid-Ohio Food Collective, Columbus
  • Tiffany Harmon – AmeriCorps Member, Columbus
  • Jenny Hymans – Five Rivers MetroParks, Dayton
  • Meghan Kaskoun - Cincinnati Arts Association, Cincinnati
  • Gerard Kelly – Senior Corps/VISTA, Youngstown
  • Sean Noe - Ohio Reading & Math Corps, Columbus
  • Meredith Pugh - ServeOhio, Columbus
  • Meaghan Torres – Ohio Reading & Math Corps, Columbus
  • Paul Valdez – Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green
  • Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss - ServeOhio, Columbus
  • Merle Walker - Lake Metroparks, Cleveland
  • Michael Young – Give Back Cincinnati, Cincinnati



Contact Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss at rebeccah.verhoff-kiss@serveohio.gov.


Sponsored by: