NEW BEDFORD — The Buttonwood Park Zoological Society is pleased to announce that it has been certified by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, as a Service Enterprise! Achieving the Service Enterprise certification is a very prestigious accomplishment; organizations that certify join the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. Certification signifies that organizations have the capability and management expertise to strategically use volunteers to improve the performance of their organization.

The Buttonwood Park Zoological Society completed an extensive assessment, over 20 hours of training and coaching, and an internal planning and change process to better integrate volunteers into our human capital strategy. By investing staff resources in this process and achieving this level of excellence and certification, the Zoo and Zoological Society are better equipped to leverage the time and talent of volunteers and better meet the needs of our organization.

The Zoo’s volunteer program offers opportunities in all aspects of the Zoo’s operation from animal care to education programs, events and facilities.  Heather Potter, the Volunteer Manager, stated “completing Service Enterprise certification is already having a powerful impact on the Zoo's volunteer program including better volunteer engagement, a streamlined on-boarding process and detailed program evaluation.”  Potter went on to say that “the certification process opened up conversations with all departments resulting in a team committed to engaging and leveraging volunteer talents in a meaningful way for the Zoo."

Community Engagement Director, Paula Montgomery praised the work of Potter and the entire Zoo team for their commitment to becoming a Service Enterprise.  Montgomery stated, “volunteers contributed over 15,000 hours last year resulting in over $450,000 in donated time.”  That level of commitment, according to Montgomery, is what drove the Society to “ensure we are in the top percent of volunteer organizations in the southcoast.”  United Way of Greater New Bedford’s, Victoria Grasela, served as the Zoological Society’s coach throughout the process.

Research conducted by the TCC Group, a national program and evaluation firm, found that organizations operating as Service Enterprises outperform peer organizations on all aspects of organizational effectiveness, and are more adaptable, sustainable and capable of scaling their work.

-Buttonwood Park Zoo

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