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Volunteerism in Immigrant and Refugee Communities
Minnesota has experienced dramatic changes in population diversity over the last 25 years with one of the highest rates in growth in diversity in the country.  In response to the lack of resources on volunteerism in immigrant communities, MAVA contracted with Mai Moua of Leadership Paradigms to do original research on volunteerism in immigrant and refugee communities.

Read an excerpt from Dr. Moua's new book, Culturally Intelligent Leadership.

Dr. Moua answers some frequently asked questions (FAQ) on Volunteerism in Immigrant Communities.

MAVA Research

Relationships Matter: Volunteerism in Immigrant Communities

Scan the executive report.

Read the six page research overview.

Explore the full report!

Click here for the press release.

Recommendations for engaging volunteers from immigrant communities

  • Understanding how relationships are created and why trust is important within immigrant communities can help organizations to successfully engage immigrant volunteers.
  • Organizations are more successful if they can establish and articulate the reasons for developing authentic relationships with immigrant volunteers and communities.
  • Find volunteer opportunities that engage and benefit the collective, family-centered system that is prevalent in immigrant communities.
  • Organizations that cultivate a strong sense of social identity for immigrant volunteers are much better at engaging and recruiting this population.
  • Organizations need to assess the changing landscape of volunteerism, including practices and systems that cause barriers to fully engaging immigrant volunteers.
  • Organizations need to assess their capacity and find the adequate resources to successfully engage immigrant volunteers.
  • Know the cultural history and background of immigrant volunteerism, including the cultural competency skills needed to work with immigrant populations.
  • Build on the talents of immigrant volunteers.
  • Engage the whole organization to recognize the importance of volunteers from immigrant communities.
  • Cultivate racial and cultural understanding, sensitivity, and proficiency.


Self Assessment Tools

Diversity and Inclusivity Organizational Self-Assessment Tool -  Developed by the Charities Review Council to assist in assessing how a nonprofit is progressing in its journey towards diversity and inclusivity.

Organizational Assessment Tool: Multicultural Competence/ Organizational Effectiveness/ Strategic Planning - One Ummah Consulting

Organizational Assessment on Engaging Volunteers from Immigrant Communities – Developed by Dr. Mai Moua.

Training/Consultation Services

Cultural Immersions - Center for Global Education at Augsburg College - Cultural immersion seminars designed to introduce participants to diverse communities within the Twin Cities.

One Ummah Consulting - Training and consulting in cultural competency.