• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Bonner Leader Program Start-Up Guide

This version was saved 14 years, 5 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Robert Hackett
on January 28, 2010 at 5:54:25 pm


The following is a brief guide intended to jump-start the planning process for campuses interested in participating in the Bonner Program. There are a variety factors and models to consider when designing and implementing a Bonner Leader Program. We recommend that interested campuses review this guide and then contact Robert Hackett at 609-924-6663 or rhackett@bonner.org at the Bonner Foundation.



Step 1: Evaluating the Fit

In determining if the Bonner Program is an appropriate fit for your particular campus, it will be helpful to understand the history and context of the Foundation’s work and the evolution of the Bonner Program. 


The consortium of campuses participating in the Bonner Program, which has grown to more than 85 campuses nationwide, is driven by the Bonner Foundation’s mission to “transform the lives of students, communities, and campuses through service.” At the heart of that mission is a program design that mobilizes students to engage in intensive and meaningful community service while moving along an articulated developmental path. The unique nature of the program’s multi-year design results in exciting and transformative experiences for students, campuses and communities alike.


The Bonner Leader Program expectations are based on the vision, mission, and experience of the Bonner Scholar Program over the last 15 years. 



Step 2: Designing A Bonner Program

Program components are designed to accomplish specific outcomes central to the Bonner Program’s mission while being flexible enough to be shaped in a way that best suits the unique character and structure of each campus.


Campus Infrastructure


Management of the Bonner Program should be integrated into your campus-wide service center or infrastructure; and yet, the Bonner Program should be positioned as a distinct program with its own set of expectations and character. This approach allows for more effective and efficient allocation of a campus’ community outreach resources.


The Bonner Program is not meant to identify and then isolate a small group of individuals; rather, it is designed to support a group of students who will then disperse throughout the campus to help create and maintain campus-based service activities. Ideally, the Bonner Program is intentionally designed to further strengthen the campus-wide culture of service.


If your campus does not already have a campus-wide center the Bonner Foundation encourages participating schools to utilize the Bonner Leaders to provide the student enthusiasm and leadership to help create one. Through various committees and organizations the students can provide vital links to other campus service initiatives such as service-learning, community-based research, and student service groups. The Bonner Program can play an integral role in uniting these diverse service initiatives into a broad-based, comprehensive service program.


In addition, a coordinated campus-wide structure makes it easier for community groups to access campus resources. In fact, as other divisions, departments, and groups on campuses become involved in various forms of community outreach — including community service, service-learning, community-based research, technical assistance, and community economic development — one of the biggest challenges will be to present a coherent roadmap of opportunities for students, faculty, and community partners who want to become engaged in these efforts.


Questions to Consider:

  • Who would coordinate the Bonner Leader Program on your campus?

  • Where would the program be based?

  • How could this program work with currently existing service initiatives on your campus?

  • How can students assist you with the creation of the program?


Financial Support — “Access to Education Opportunity to Serve”


The goal of providing access to a college education for students with high financial is paramount to the Bonner Program model. Students are supported financially as they engage in intensive and sustained service. Typically, students in Bonner Leader Programs receive Federal Work Study funds. If Federal Work Study is not available, we recommend establishing other institutional resources to support these students. Many campuses access Bonner AmeriCorps Education Awards as a supplement to the students' stipend.


Questions to Consider:

  • What additional sources of funding could your campus leverage to supplement the students’ scholarship package?
  • Will the Bonner AmeriCorps Education Award be an appropriate resource?
  • Who on campus is utilizing (spending) community based work study? (Review the Federal Work Study Packet for more information).


Student Development


All students in the Bonner Program are guided through intentional opportunities to develop as thoughtful, engaged citizens of our national and global community. We recognize the individualized nature of a student’s participation in and development of values, cognitive abilities, skills, and experience. We envision graduates who have a multitude of experience, commitment, and proficiency to continue as effective “servant leaders,” even while they contribute through different localities, occupations, political persuasions, networks, and viewpoints. The program follows a student developmental progression which we call the Five E’s: expectation, explore, experience, example, and expertise.


The Bonner Community has defined six Common Commitments as well as a set of twenty-four personal, professional and leadership skills. The Common Commitments: community building, civic engagement, diversity, international perspective, spiritual exploration, and social justice represent a core set of value exploration we expect students to have the opportunity to explore in the program.


The skill sets were articulated as concrete examples of what can be mapped into the program experience. Programs execute their student development plan in both co-curricular and curricular contexts. Regardless, there are key components to every Bonner Leader Program. These include: Orientation, Advising, All Bonner Meetings, Vocational Discernment and a Presentation of Learning.


For the training and enrichment component, programs make extensive use of the more than 60+ training modules the Foundation commissioned from the Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL). In addition, the IMPACT Conference (formerly the national COOL Conference) hosts a national conference annually that has come to be a key experience for training and enrichment for many Bonner Programs. See the Sample Bonner Program Calendar for an illustration or model to use. 


Questions to Consider:

  • What campus and community professionals could assist with training and enrichment activities for students?
  • When during each week can you schedule a regular Bonner meeting?


Community Partnerships


The Bonner Program brings campus and community leaders together on equal footing to forge a new vision of what campus and community partnerships can achieve. The community partnership vision of the Bonner Program is to have campuses, students, and community partners address needs and mobilize assets in building stronger, healthier communities. The spirit of collaboration ensures a channel of communication in order to more effectively respond to the evolving needs of the community and help close the historical divide between campus and community.


The work of community organizations is significantly enhanced because the Bonner Program structure provides students with the financial support and training to engage for multiple years with the same agency, issue area and.or organization, enabling the students' to take on increasing responsibility and leadership in their service.


The Bonner Program follows a comprehensive service placement process used by members for both their school year and the summer placements. The model also describes a collaborative, community problem-solving process that builds in the placement process. Taken together, these two components of community partnerships help the progam achieve your community partnership goals.


The Bonner Program emphasizes the quality and investment of relationship that exist when students and their campus make long term, meaningful commitments to the community. The highly collaborative nature of the Bonner Program has provided space for community organizations and campuses to take part in the national service movement as well as to be true partners and co-educators. We offer extensive resources for building and managing partnerships of this quality: see the Community Partnership Implementation Guides.


Questions to Consider:

  • What community partners would be candidates for participation in this program?
  • How can we involve community partners in the early stage of the development of the Bonner program’s creation and implementation?


Step 3: Start Up Timeline & Logistics

Successful programs require planning. As this guide suggests, there are many factors to consider. It is best to give yourselves enough lead time to design a strategy for implementing your Bonner Leader Program.




Usually current staff take on the management of the first year of a new Bonner Leader Program.  This makes sense from a financial standpoint, but it also has the advantage of involving staff in (re-)thinking through your student development, community partnership, and campus-wide infrastructure.  There is no one way to integrate the Bonner Program into the existing programs and structures; each campus is unique and has to figure out how best to leverage the potential inherent in a program that supports a core group of students to engage in intensive, sustained community service and training/enrichment.


As the program develops, you will have a chance to evaluate your program's staffing needs.  The requirement the Bonner Foundation uses for funded Bonner Scholar Programs is one full-time staff per 40 students.  Programs with 60 students should have 1.5 staff and those with 80 should have one full-time staff member and another full-time equivalent (i.e., multiple staff partially devoted to managing the program).


To orient and train new Bonner Program staff, we ask that they attend the New Bonner Directors and Coordinators Meeting held each summer in the last few days of July or first few days in August.  Following this meeting, there is a Fall Directors and Coordinators Meeting held in the first week in November and, six months later in first week in June, we hold the Summer Leadership Institute which brings together staff, students, and sometimes faculty, senior administrators, and community partners.


Recruiting Original Class of Bonners


It is our recommendation that campuses begin with a smaller number of students (10-15) in the first year of the program. This approach allows you to establish a solid foundation of strong program elements from which to build in future years.  There are three approaches to recruiting your original class of Bonner Leaders:

  • select from current students (freshmen, sophomores and maybe some exceptional juniors)
  • work with the admissions and financial aid offices to identify and send recruitment mailings to incoming freshmen who you select prior to the start of the school year (and ideally bring on campus for an early orientation)
  • work with the financial aid office to send recruitment material to accepted students but conduct the interview and selection process after the start of the Fall semester.


You can combine the above approaches.  Also, your potential pool of Bonner Leaders will be affected by the source of stipend you are able to offer them.  If you only have access to Federal Work Study funds (as described above), then you will recruit from that pool of eligible students.  If you have institutional financial aid (college work study or some other scholarship funds), then you will have access to a wider pool of candidates.  Schools have combined both Federal Work-Study and institutional funds to provide the stipend that enables Bonners to commit 8-10 hours per week of service and training.


Recruiting Original Group of Community Partners


As mentioned above, schools have more success in their start-up phase when they begin with a smaller class of between 10-15 Bonner Leaders.  Because we believe Bonner Leaders should be integral members of issue or site-based teams, we think you should also begin with a smaller group of 3-5 community partners.  This enables every Bonner to be part of a team of at least 3-4 Bonner Leaders (and hopefully other students) serving with a community partner.  This concentration of effort leads to deeper and more sustained community partnerships and more developmentally effective placements.


Therefore, you will want to begin identifying and meeting with your community partners in the Spring (no later than early Summer).  As noted above, we have implementation guides on working with community partners, including handouts and powerpoints that you can use to help them understand the Bonner student development model and our comprehensive placement process.  


Questions to Consider:

  • When would you like to implement the program?
  • How many Bonner Leaders would you want to recruit for the first year?
  • How would you staff the Bonner Leader Program in the first year?



Step 4: Campus Visit from Foundation Staff

The staff at the Bonner Foundation maintains regular communication with participating campuses through weekly email updates, conference calls and campus visits. We strongly encourage program administrators to keep the Foundation updated as to what is happening on your campus. The Foundation staff is available for campus visits. Often, programs invite the staff for planning meetings, orientations and retreats, special events and/or to meet with other campus administrators.



Step 5: Connecting to the Bonner Network

Currently, there are more than 85 campuses participating in the Bonner Scholars and Bonner Leader Programs. This diverse consortium and has come to be a hallmark of the Bonner Program and is an important resource for campus administrators, students, and community partners. It is a network that shares best practices, collaborates on new initiatives, and is committed to building community among Bonner Programs around the country.


Each summer the Bonner Foundation organizes an orientation workshop for new Bonner Scholar and Bonner Leader Program Directors. New program administrators can expect to learn about the history of the Foundation, how to implement the program on your campus, and how to report information to the Foundation.


The Foundation brings program staff together at the following annual meetings:


There are a number of other initiatives that allow Bonner Programs to collaborate:


Finally, there are several social media channels we've organized to stay in touch throughout the year:


Bonner Weekly Email Update this email goes out weekly with announcements, reminders, and other useful information (make sure you are subscribed by emailing info@bonner.org to request your email be included)
this wiki (yes, the one you're reading) contains a campus profile page for each participating school, which we ask that you and your students maintain
this is a custom Facebook site we use for sharing photos, videos, and asking questions via various groups and forums.
this is a real Facebook group for posting messages, job announcements, sharing photos and videos, etc.
Bonner staff and increasingly Bonner alumni are using this professional networking site
we post some on a twitter feed
Foundation staff, as well as students and campus staff, post Bonner-related videos on our YouTube Channel
this is where we post all of the powerpoints we use for workshop and conference presentations
some staff have been sharing useful website links via our delicious page






















Step 6: Tracking and Reporting

Campus directors & coordinators, students, and community partners are all involved in the tracking and reporting for the Bonner Program. From tracking a student’s status to assessing the programs impact we have developed a number of tools to capture the work of the Bonner Program.


The Bonner Web-Based Reporting System (BWBRS)


BWBRS provides a web-based means of managing the information flow and capturing important data for analysis. Campuses use BWBRS not only to track the hours served by students but the impact the program is having on the student (through the Community Learning Agreement) and the community (through the Service Accomplishments.)  Ask Bonner Foundation staff to conduct a phone training for you and your key staff on how to use BWBRS.


Bonner Student Impact Survey


This is the Bonner Foundation's longitudinal Student Impact Survey (as reported by the students) and is administer to Bonner Leaders as an Incoming Survey when they initially enroll in the program. An Outgoing Survey is administered after the final year of the program has been completed.


Campus Impact Assessment


The Bonner Foundation is in the early stages of planning a campus impact assessment survey. This survey would seek to measure and document the impact the Bonner Program is having on helping create a campus-wide culture of service at participating institutions. 


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.