Host an Encore Fellow

Can My Organization Benefit From an Encore Fellow?

Demaray (1)Encore Fellows bring years of experience and a wealth of knowledge and skills to contribute to their Work Host. They are eager to learn about the important work you do, and their goal is to advance your organization’s capacity to deliver on your mission. Work Hosts are typically nonprofits, public agencies and other social purpose organizations.

Work Hosts value many features of the Encore Fellowship: professional skills and expertise matched with a specific project assignment, a time-limited, flexible work arrangement, maturity and life experience, humility and eagerness to contribute in a hands-on role, and affordability.

The cost of an Encore Fellow is a fraction of the equivalent market value of the work performed. A flexible source of experienced talent for your organization, Encore Fellows are particularly valuable at key organizational inflection points requiring new expertise or management experience. Hosting an Encore Fellow is a low-risk, high return option to add to your portfolio of human talent solutions.

While the typical fellowship assignment lasts 1,000 hours over six to 12 months, many host organizations have found ways to retain their fellows for further work or have hired their fellows outright. Other fellows continue as volunteers or Board members.

If you are interested in hosting a Fellow in your organization, please refer to the Program Directory page.

Impact: Encore Fellow Results

  • Over 97% of both Encore Fellows and Work Hosts give positive Overall Satisfaction ratings. About 80% of all participants select the top satisfaction category.
  • Over 80% of Work Hosts at the completion of the fellowship expect sustained positive impact at their organization from the Encore Fellowship in the following ways:
    – Implementation of new and useful tools,
    – Staff development in new ways, and/or
    – Implementation of new and useful approaches to work
  • Work Hosts who said they were “unlikely” to hire Encore talent from outside the sector dropped from 28% at the beginning of the fellowship to 6% following the fellowship.

(based on 2009-2013 Encore Fellowship Program Completion Surveys of over 120 Work Hosts)

The Encore Fellowships Network was featured in a 2013 “What Works” case study in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

A report by an independent research and evaluation firm gives high marks to the Silicon Valley Encore Fellows pilot program for “generating a very high level of impact.” More >

Featured Fellowships

“Encore Fellows are the most effective and affordable source of experienced management talent that a nonprofit organization can access.” - Becky Crowe, Partner, Bellwether Education, Menlo Park, CA

“Renee moved FOTC forward on many fronts. Think of an old “To Do” list that you can never get to, and then 18 months later everything is done, the house is in order, and you have an instruction manual telling you what to do next. Her work on the capital project will last for 75 years. How’s that for impact?” – FOTC CEO Mark Young, Portland, OR

Work Host Partners in School Innovation works with K-12 school systems across three states to address the achievement gap. Hosting five different Encore Fellows since 2009, CEO Derek Mitchell says Encore Fellows not only bring valued tools and systems, they act as role models and mentors to make his team more effective. “Can you imagine if all nonprofits actually started achieving their goals because Encore Fellows were there to help them with proven tools and methods?” – Derek Mitchell, CEO, Partners in School Innovation, San Francisco, CA

“Our Encore Fellow, Pat, has already had a huge impact at Second Harvest Food Bank. By initiating a planning process early on that emphasized the identification of a small number of critical ‘breakthrough initiatives’, he really helped the Leadership Team prioritize and focus their efforts. The ‘change management’ journey has been frustrating at times, but has been critical to managers and employees trying – and increasingly embracing – new, more efficient approaches to distribution. I truly believe that the community will benefit from Pat’s impact and leadership at Second Harvest.”- Kathy Jackson, Executive Director, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

Meet Other Work Hosts
Watch videos from sponsors and nonprofits about the value of Encore Fellowships.

What Sort of Work Do Encore Fellows Do?

Encore Fellows bring a wide variety of highly transferable skills that can have a huge impact in the organizations that host them. Typical functional backgrounds for fellows and the project areas they relate to include:

  • Marketing/communications: messaging, collateral, public relations and brand management
  • Information technology: hardware, software and cloud computing technology planning, implementation, support and maintenance
  • Human resources policies: systems and structures, staff development and coaching
  • Legal: structure, contracts, tax, employment and intellectual property
  • Financial management business processes, budgeting, forecasting, and cost modeling
  • Sales/business development: policies and strategies, fundraising initiatives and target donor identification
  • Strategic plans: scaling initiatives, partnerships, deployment and board recruitment
  • Operations and performance management: planning, coordination and analysis
  • Project/program management: operations, initiatives, a new venture or expansion
  • Technical specialists: specific skill areas such as engineering and statistics
  • Facilities and Construction Management: design and project management, facility maintenance and administration

Work Host Criteria and Responsibilities

Work hosts, typically nonprofit, education or public agencies, create and manage impactful Encore Fellow assignments. Below are the key criteria of an effective Work Host:

  • High-impact work: A work host identifies a role or assignment for the fellow that advances its mission and responds to high-priority organizational needs. A matched Work Host and Fellow agree to a “Statement of Work” which clearly defines the roles, expectations, and milestones and aligns with the fellow’s skills and abilities. This document guides the definition of the work and outcomes throughout the Fellowship, but also allows for flexibility to incorporate new opportunities and learning during the course of the Fellowship.
  • Leadership and commitment: The work host integrates the fellow into its leadership team, provides strong sponsorship from its executive director, ensures organizational buy-in, and commits the personnel and resources to support the success of the assignment.
  • Fellow selection and support: The work host actively participates in the fellow selection process to ensure a good fit and provides management and support throughout the fellowship.
  • Structure and flexibility: Together the work host and fellow determine a work schedule that ensures the fellow has time to achieve results for the nonprofit and develop meaningful experience in the social sector. The ideal fellowship is approximately 1,000 hours, lasting one year on a part-time basis, with flexibility to accommodate the needs and circumstances of the fellow and the work host.
  • Financial engagement: The work host contributes a significant portion of the Fellowship cost, reinforcing the value of the Fellowship to the work host and the Fellow. This contribution may be part or all of the fellow’s stipend and a program fee. The full cost of a fellowship ranges between $25,000 and $45,000 for 1,000 hours, based on geography. This cost is a fraction of the equivalent market value of the work performed. Encore Fellowships are a very affordable source of experienced talent to your organization. A limited number of sponsorships are available

See the EFN’s non-discrimination policy.

What Are the Next Steps to Host an Encore Fellow?

The first step is to find an Encore Fellowships program which fits your needs. Each program has a director who is able to provide information about the focus, scope and terms of their program. Each program follows a common application process, which involves describing your organization, fellowship position(s), and why your organization and the position are a good fit for an Encore Fellowship. Most programs accept Work Host applications year-round; note that some programs limit work host applications to an invitation-only basis.

Once your organization is accepted into a program, you will work with the Program Director to describe your needs in more detail and conduct the matching process to identify a fellow.

Each program may have a range of funding models. Work hosts typically pay some or all of the fellow’s stipend and a modest program participation fee. The cost is a fraction of the equivalent market value of the work performed, so under any of the funding scenarios, Encore Fellowships are a very affordable source of experienced talent to your organization. A limited number of fellows have sponsorship from a former employer or other organization.

If a match is made, you and your fellow will work together to further define the objectives and scope of the project. You will be responsible for providing space, equipment, a proper orientation and to sponsor the fellow’s work. In addition to what you provide, the Encore Fellows Program Director offers opportunities for your fellow to interact with other fellows and ways for them to learn more broadly about the sector and social-purpose work.

How Do I Find and Apply to an Encore Fellowships Program?

Consult our Program Directory for a list of our Fellowships programs.

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