Emily Steinberg
Director of External Affairs, America's Service Commissions

In June 2019 America's Service Commisions (ASC) asked us to lead a web-verson of our "How to be Helpful" workshop for their AmeriCorps affiliates from around the United States. Emily from ASC said this afterwards:

"Thank you for a great presentation on “How to be Helpful”. You did a great job of making an important, yet complex topic, fun, relatable, and practical! I also loved the way you did a nice job of pausing for activities, allowing for group input, and responding to questions throughout the webinar."

Alero Akporiaye
Political Scientist at Rhode Island School of Design

Alero studies the impact of political risk on multi-national corporations' behavior. She reached out in 2018 and again in 2019 because she was looking to speak with folks who have experience with how they respond to expropriation. Here's what she said afterwards: 

"I heard about r4i through the American Political Science Association email list. I approached them with a long shot request to recruit industry experts from the oil and gas industry for a research project. A long shot request as r4i does not specialize in this area of matching. Though we were both skeptical about the possibility of success, they proceeded in a creative way and were able to match me with a candidate. I came back a few months after with another long shot request. I am most impressed with r4i's desire to try even when it seems impossible and how they coach clients to maximize opportunities and requests."

Jeff Pelich
Vice President of Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario in Waterloo

In April 2019 the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario invited us to lead our interactive workshop How to be Helpful: Building Relationships for Social Impact to their members. Here's what Jeff said afterwards:

"This workshop reaffirmed to our members the value of developing deep relationships to better engage and motivate their colleagues into action.  The content was a perfect balance of practical tips and theory that sought to empower participants in their organizing efforts."

Erica Frazier
Research Manager, FairVote

In fall 2018 Erica and her team reached out to connect with a researcher interested in evaluating electoral reforms. By spring 2019 things had really progressed! Here's what she said: 

"We had a great collaboration with researchers at MIT, using ballot data to analyze the impact of ranked choice voting. It’s already been presented as part of an engaging conference panel. We really appreciated your help connecting us — this kind of research matchmaking is so valuable!"

Jean Ritok
Volunteer chapter leader, Citizens Climate Education in Raleigh-Durham, NC

We connected Jean with a researcher to talk about research on how to boost volunteer engagement. Afterwards she shared how that one conversation produced a broader shift in organizational practice...a true culture change:

"In January 2019 we connected with research4impact to talk about boosting volunteer engagement. Eager and curious, I did a 30-minute call with a researcher who described the research-based best practices for welcoming new volunteers and getting them involved in our work.  I found myself in rapt attention to what he was saying.  After the call, I wrote up his recommendations, shared them with our chapter's staff, and worked with our chapter’s “growth team” so they could use those practices to welcome new members.

The practices really worked well.  Once we understood the reasoning behind their design, they were easy to adopt and felt natural, even the first time I used them.  For me, it was a revelation and a timesaver and made the process much more rewarding for both parties. Interesting: these practices guided how best to talk to new people, and what did we learn?... that it's mostly about listening to them. 

About a month later, we used the recommended practices at our monthly meeting with walk-ins who were curious about our organization. Once again, the practices were natural and effective. Those volunteers joined our organization and began to explore our action teams ... in that first meeting!

As a busy volunteer myself, I have long been frustrated at the gap between academia and those in the trenches.  I am so pleased that research4impact is narrowing that gap. So many smart researchers ... so many hard-working practitioners: It's high time we partnered them up!

A few months later, I passed out 40 copies of the Volunteer Engagement Practices at our regional Conference as part of my presentation on "How to have a Vibrant Chapter with Engaged Volunteers". Several people walked up to me afterwards and said how much they appreciated that handout. I wasn’t surprised. So valuable. It really makes a difference."