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Leadership SLO says survey shows success boosting volunteerism

Members of the leadership group who helped in different phases of the project pose behind the completed human sundial. The 2011 group, Class XX, call themselves Dos Equis, 'The Most Interesting Class in the World.'
Members of the leadership group who helped in different phases of the project pose behind the completed human sundial. The 2011 group, Class XX, call themselves Dos Equis, 'The Most Interesting Class in the World.' ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

A recent survey of Leadership San Luis Obispo alumni shows that participants increased their volunteer activities after completing the program.

Founded in 1991, Leadership SLO is a countywide nonprofit program designed to encourage new leadership in the community. The survey demonstrates the program’s success as it nears its 25th anniversary, Executive Director Sandi Sigurdson said.

“We’ve been telling our stories for 24 years, and now we have the metrics to prove our community impact,” Sigurdson said.

The survey validates the investments of time and money by hundreds of volunteers and supporters over the years, she noted.

Each year, 36 people participate in the 10-month program, which includes a retreat and monthly sessions on issues that affect the community, such as education and the arts, sustainability, and criminal and civil justice.

The nonprofit organization, with more than 800 alumni, is governed by an independent board of directors at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.

In lieu of celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, Leadership SLO is launching the L25 Sterling Anniversary Fund to support scholarships and affordability for the program, setting a goal to raise $250,000 before the end of 2016.

The campaign is in its quiet phase and has already raised $60,000. Sigurdson, who is in her sixth year with the organization, said SLO Leadership knew hard data was needed to demonstrate its effectiveness.

Funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County, Leadership SLO sent a survey to the nearly 600 alumni that they are in e-mail contact with and had a 50 percent response rate.

Findings from the survey showed:

  • 52 percent of alumni volunteer more after completing the program.
  • 43 percent of alumni volunteer with a new organization after finishing the program.
  • 26 percent of alumni became a board member for the first time after completing the program.
  • 37 percent of alumni increased their charitable contributions since finishing the program.
  • Sigurdson said she believes the survey will inspire supporters to invest in the program to ensure it is available to future potential leaders.

    “Our goal of Leadership SLO is to change lives; the survey results tell us we’ve done that,” said Sigurdson.

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