Service in Cities

HandsOn Network envisions a world where government agencies, large and small, provide compelling opportunities for individuals to discover their power to make a difference and effectively utilize the talents of people who serve.


Volunteer initiatives give cities the power to increase meaningful engagement with residents and discover creative ways to meet the expanding need for services. HandsOn Network’s specific expertise in the field of service and volunteerism can meet the needs of cities wanting to successfully implement municipal volunteer programs. As a founding supporter of Cities of Service, HandsOn Network ensures cities and municipalities can utilize volunteers to their fullest potential.

As an expert in the field of service and volunteerism, HandsOn Network holds specific market value and capability that can be built out and scaled to meet the need of cities wanting to successfully implement municipal volunteer programs.

Cities of Service

Since the inception of Cities of Service, HandsOn Network has worked nationally and locally to support this bipartisan coalition of the mayors of large and small cities from across America who are working together to engage citizens to address the great challenges of our time.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Under the championship of Mayor Bloomberg, the coalition and its member cities are finding new and innovative ways to harness the power of volunteers to help solve pressing local challenges.

Since its launch in September 2009, the Cities of Service coalition has grown from 17 founding mayors to more than 90 mayors representing more than 45 million Americans across the nation. Each city has pledged to lead multi-year efforts to accomplish the following:

  • Develop a comprehensive service plan and a coordinated strategy focused on matching volunteers and established community partners to the areas of greatest local need
  • Advance strategies and best practices that accelerate the service movement and produce measurable results
  • Encourage others to join this national effort to engage citizens
  • Ensure that the voices of cities are heard in federal legislative, policy, and program discussions related to service.
  • Contact Cities of Service to join the movement

See the next section of this page for information on how HandsOn Network can support your city service initiative.

Watch founding mayors talk about the importance of volunteerism



In times of both security and challenge, cities can tap into a reservoir of human capital—volunteers—to deliver services and drive economic recovery and growth. An increased desire to leverage volunteers toward achieving strategic objectives in local municipalities is being driven by the simultaneous reduction in funds and tax base, a new level of interest in national volunteerism, and the opportunity to build an engaged citizenry, which can lead to sustainable and creative solutions.

Founding Mayors of Cities of Service

There are a variety of products and services that HandsOn Network can provide to assist cities who want to utilize volunteerism as a strategy for positive citizen engagement and addressing social needs.

Contact us for support with your city service initiatives.

Highlighted Service

The Volunteer Leader Boot Camp

The Volunteer Leader Boot Camp is one way of equipping volunteers to meet city and municipality needs. Volunteer leaders lead others in service to the community through well managed projects and programs that build on local assets, meet local needs, and provide volunteers with a positive experience so that they continue their journey of service.

The Volunteer Leader Boot Camp is a full day, in-person training for city volunteers who make a commitment to lead at least two projects focused on a city need over the course of one year. These individuals will be trained via an online orientation where they will learn about the Cities of Service initiative and the expectations for being a City of Service Volunteer Leader and the in-person Boot Camp training experience. After their training, they will commit to completing at least two service projects and beginning their path of Volunteer Leadership to serve their city.

Boot Camp Design: The boot camp training will be delivered in a highly interactive manner in order to provoke discussion among participants. A combination of lecture, demonstration, discussion, experiential, and extensive hands-on practice will be utilized to help participants explore content in a manner that is concrete and easily applicable to their volunteer leadership roles.

Boot Camp Agenda:

  • Overview of Cities of Service Initiative (led by the city representatives)
  • Introduction to Volunteer Leadership
  • Volunteer Leadership Skills
  • Volunteer Project Development
  • Volunteer Project Implementation
  • Volunteer Project Evaluation (measuring and communicating results)
  • Volunteer Management
  • Building a Volunteer Leader Community

Follow Up Consultation: HandsOn Network will provide follow up consultation directly to the city for a period of one year after the training to support the city wide volunteer leader initiative.

Contact us to learn more about the Volunteer Leader Boot Camp. 

Action Centers

The successful implementation of local government volunteer programs can give communities the power to both increase meaningful engagement with residents and discover creative ways to meet expanding needs for local government services with limited resources.

 of Service Leadership Grant Announcement in Chicago

For more information on how this work is taking place across the Network, contact Zack Brown for information on how to join the Service in Cities BigTent subgroup.


Here you will find resources and publications relevant to Cities of Service. Documents use Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat and PowerPoint formats for downloading.

Thank you, and please feel free to contact us with feedback on this section or for suggestions on new resources.