Improving Nonprofits’ Service to Veterans Who Served Their Country


Penn St, Student Conservation Association Develop “Vets-Centric” Assessment Tool; Enables Orgs to Identify Strengths, Barriers Affecting Veterans Relationships

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) November 8, 2012 — As large numbers of military veterans transition back to civilian life, they bring certain needs and present certain opportunities. However, nonprofit organizations seeking to work with veterans may find their programs and systems are not in synch with this unique constituency.

Pennsylvania State University and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) have partnered to develop a “vets-centric” business tool that allows nonprofits to assess their readiness and ongoing capability to effectively serve former military personnel. The NonProfit Environmental Evaluation for Veterans Index (NPEEVI) is based on a similar evaluative tool created by Penn State for use by higher education institutions.

“The military culture is very different from the nonprofit culture, and nonprofits must recognize and accommodate these differences in order to successfully employ or service those who served in the armed forces,” says SCA Director of Recruiting Patty Holland.

The NPEEVI is based on a substantial amount of research into the veteran constituency, and allows nonprofits to assess a broad range of environmental factors including Organizational Structure, Systems and Policies, Human Resources, and Institutional Culture. Kimberly Griffin, Ph.D., who along with graduate research assistant Clair Gilbert developed both the original tool and the NPEEVI at Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, says the objective with veterans is to eliminate potential obstacles to developing productive relationships.

“The Index helps organizations aim a spotlight on important operational components including recruiting strategies, scheduling flexibility, and support networks specific to veterans’ needs. Something as basic as identifying other veterans on staff who can serve as contacts for vets just joining an organization can vastly improve the quality of the veteran experience,” notes Griffin, now an associate professor at Maryland University.

The NPEEVI also makes it easier for nonprofits to track program outcomes and compare the results to those of their civilian programs. For more information, contact SCA Recruiting at 603.543.1700 or at [email protected].

About the Student Conservation Association

The Student Conservation Association helps tomorrow’s conservation leaders take action for the planet by providing high school and college students, young veterans and others with hands-on conservation experiences in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. Since 1957, SCA has developed new generations of conservation leaders, provided America’s youth with green job training and skill building, restored community green spaces, preserved our trails and recreation resources, and engaged millions of Americans in conservation service and outdoor education. SCA is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Boise, ID, Charlestown, NH, Chicago, IL, Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Seattle, WA.

Student Conservation Association