Best Practices & Other Awards

Winners of our awards are announced at the annual conference in November. Each best practice award includes a plaque, $150 ReFrame bucks” that can be used for membership renewal, and recognition on ReFrame's website and in a newsletter. Apply for 2020 awards by October 12. 


Best Practice Award Winner: Partnership with Homeowners

Good Works in Pennsylvania was the recipient for their Ambassador Program. Ambassadors are volunteers who participate in workdays solely to minister to the relational and spiritual needs of the families being served. We also recognized their Hope Certificates, which are coupons that a homeowner they have previously served can redeem for an emergency repair within a five-year window.

Best Practice Award Winner: Home Repair Practices

Hinton Rural Life Center in North Carolina was the recipient for their Healthy Homes Program. They developed a healthy homes checklist, a referral pad (that looks like a prescription) for community support services to use, and more.

Best Practice Award Winner: Stewardship of Volunteers

Good Neighbors Home Repair in Pennsylvania was the recipient for their corporate volunteer work week. They led a successful effort to recruit new volunteers via this program. To learn more, check out their blog post on the ReFrame website.

Best Practice Award Winners: Community Partnership

Two organizations were the recipient of this award. Project Houseworks received it for “Warm the Metro," an annual event in collaboration with a Heating and Cooling Contractors Association that provides free furnace maintenance checks, and for their partnership with a local electricians' union annually for "Powering Hope" in which volunteers provide free electrical repairs.

Rebuilding Together of the Triangle (RTT) was the other recipient; they received this award for their partnership with the local health department to provide solutions for homes occupied by lead-poisoned children. Environmental health nurses help find the family a place to stay while RTT makes repairs using lead safe work practices. Once a 3rd party verifies that the lead hazards are stable and contained or removed, the family moves back in. 

Mission Serve received an honorable mention in this category for their partnership with the Fair Bluff, North Carolina community that began after Hurricane Matthew.

Best Practice Award Winner: Storytelling

COVER Home Repair in Vermont won for their partnership with Dartmouth College's experiential learning process to engage first-year students in understanding how social capital can be built in rural areas. Students write stories about their work that the nonprofit uses for marketing. Learn more about this collegiate partnership in this short video.  

Award Winner: Master Builder of the Year

Rebuilding Together of the Triangle was the recipient of this award given to the member that helped recruit the most new association members. They recruited two new members in 2019. All organizations that recruit new members are part of the Master Builders Club. Other 2019 club members: Alabama Rural Ministry, Furman University, HopeBUILDERS Home Repair, and Appalachia Service Project.  


Best Practice Award Winner: Stewardship of Volunteers

Rebuild Upstate was the recipient for their focus on providing a great volunteer experience every time. Unlike seasonal or camp-like organizations, they have very limited time with each volunteer. However, because of continuous process improvement and a volunteer-centric culture, they create a fulfilling and impactful volunteer experience every time. This includes a pre-workday orientation for new groups, post-workday surveys, and volunteer appreciation events, among other things. Community Housing Coalition in North Carolina received honorable mention in this category for the skilled leadership they provide volunteers. They also educate volunteers about the significance of the work they are doing, and focus on volunteer appreciation to increase retention.

Best Practice Award Winner: Partnership with Homeowners

Good Neighbors Home Repair in Pennsylvania received this award for the outcomes research they did in the summer of 2018. Their impressive report shows that homeowners experience real financial relief because of their home repairs, as well as improved psychological, social, and spiritual health. Reach Mission Trips received honorable mention in this category for commemorating relationships built by giving each family a framed picture of them with the work crew along with notes from all the people who repaired their home.

Best Practice Award Winner: Home Repair Practices

Mountain T.O.P. received this award for the state-of-the-art project & volunteer management system that they have developed using SalesForce as the foundation. The system tracks homeowners who have been served multiple times, and provides worksheets for staff to use for conducting initial home visits. Reporting out of the system is significant; it can report how many projects by type, by geographic area, # of new homeowners, materials used, and donations collected. This same software has been modified to track all volunteers and groups and will soon include an online registration module. Good Works received honorable mention in this category for the new information system that they are developing and testing, “Good Works Toolbox.” Its operations module not only supports work planning and execution, but also provides video-based training for volunteers.



Best Practices Award Winner: Temporary Staff

Appalachia Service Project received the award in the category of Temporary Staff for their robust strategies for hiring, training, and evaluating summer staff. ASP has diverse recruitment methods and a high retention rate which provides a large applicant pool. They also hold interactive in-person group interviews around the country.


Best Practices Award Winner: Community Partnership

Alabama Rural Ministry receives this award for their innovative “Blueprint for Mission” volunteer curriculum. They gathered information from their volunteers’ communities and helped them complete an assets-based needs assessment. Volunteers created a mission statement, strategies, and an action plan for what their youth group will do in their home community. ARM is encouraging volunteers to approach service as a way of life in their community year-round. 


Award Winner: Master Builder of the Year

YouthWorks was the recipient of this award given to the member that helped recruit the most new association members. They recruited two new members. All organizations that recruit new members are part of the Master Builders Club. Other 2018 club members: Mountain T.O.P., Rebuild Upstate, and Rutherford Housing Partnership.


Best Practice Award Winner: Innovative Home Repair Practices

Rebuilding Together of the Triangle was the recipient. RTT begins by working with homeowners on a solution-based approach to assessment and often engaging an Occupational Therapist in the process. They focus on whole home performance which means they are ready to complete every type of repair. They focus on making the essential areas of the home safe and healthy. Specific innovative repair practices include vinyl plank flooring, cut-and-drop gutters (measured and cut by a seamless gutter company, installed by volunteers), and prioritizing window replacement (which is something many other home repair agencies don't do). They also do a great job with lead paint hazard management - they provide their staff with training and equipment to do lead paint containment and removal on repair projects. Servants, Inc. received honorable mention in this award category for their efficiency and effectiveness in repair methods. Their Home Helps program has created a template for materials and procedures to streamline the process so that they can have volunteers complete complicated repairs using limited funds. Their client satisfaction rating is 4.9/5.

Best Practice Award Winner: Volunteer/Camper Hospitality

Reach Mission Trips was the recipient. They received several nominations: a volunteer, a community partner, and a parent of a summer staff member all highly praised Reach's hospitality. They instill in volunteers and staff members a passionate desire for missions and service. They work hard to encourage new relationship, with homeowners, summer staff, youth groups, etc. This is done in many ways in such a way that everyone can't help but be upbeat and positive. Reach listens to campers' and volunteers' concerns and are there to help in any way they can. They work an incredible number of hours but are always so friendly, happy and encouraging. Bethlehem Farm received honorable mention in this award category. They really embrace hospitality with their "Welcome Home" motto. All visitor, volunteers, homeowners, and friends are welcomed at the door with a hug and someone saying "welcome home." The organization strives to make all who come through their door feel comfortable, cared for, and at home.

Best Practice Award Winner: Community Partnership

Home Works of America was the recipient. HWA partners with the Help My House energy-efficiency program, an initiative from South Carolina's consumer-owned electric cooperatives. HWA repairs homes first (fixes roofs, builds wheelchair ramps, etc.) at no cost to the homeowner. Then, contractors approved by the electric cooperative complete weatherization projects such as adding insulation or fixing HVAC systems. This is paid for with a low-interest loan that the homeowners can easily pay back on their monthly electric bill using a portion of what they are saving on energy costs. The rest of the savings is theirs to keep. Monthly savings of $85 to $175 have been documented. Each electric cooperative set up their own agreement with HWA, and they partner to bring energy efficiency modifications to homeowners, helping them live more comfortably and save money. Nehemiah Mission received honorable mention in this award category. In addition to working with city and county officials to secure locations for teams to serve, they have two project managers who seek out needs of community members, listen to them with empathy and work to improve their situation. Nehemiah Mission is also very motivated in developing and maintaining relationships with the Liberian community in Cleveland.

Award Winner: Master Builder of the Year

Bethlehem Farm was the recipient of this new award given to the member that helped recruit the most new association members. They recruited two new members. All organizations that recruit new members are part of the Master Builders Club. Other 2017 club members: Appalachia Service Project, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry, Rockford Work Camps, Reach Mission Trips, and Nehemiah Mission.


Best Practice Award Winner: Volunteer/Camper Hospitality

Mountain T.O.P. was the recipient. The idea of radical hospitality is a foundational practice at Mountain T.O.P. Simply put, they find ways to say ‘”yes.” If it is within reason and will not contradict the integrity of their programs, they are ready and willing to step outside the lines. This philosophy is explicitly included in their staff-training program and provides the backbone for their organizational culture. Good Neighbors received honorable mention in this award category for their pre-trip project communication. One of their college volunteers wrote, “The staff believe each volunteer’s mission week has the potential to be a life-changing experience, and hosts activities with this in mind. The preparation, planning, love and focus of Good Neighbors’ staff toward their volunteers is truly felt by all who attend, making the experience absolutely unforgettable!”

Best Practice Award Winner: Management Excellence

 Service Over Self was the recipient. A community partner organization nominated SOS for this award. They wrote, “Phillip Walkley, the Executive Director of SOS, is a great servant leader who manages the team at SOS with humility and high expectations. He is extremely organized and has a unique feel for the culture needed to be the most effective and productive. He is aware of threats to organizations like mission drift and is proactive in creating champions within the organization.” Reach Mission Trips received honorable mention in this category for their management of summer staff. One nomination came from a parent of a summer staffer: “My daughter said, ‘You know how people say if you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life? I know what that’s like now.'”

Best Practice Award Winner: Community Partnership

Ozark Mission Project was a recipient. They hold 12 camps throughout the state of Arkansas. In each community it serves, OMP partners with community organizations. We especially want to highlight that OMP partnered with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance this year. Cooking Matters classes were held at some of OMP camps for OMP neighbors. OMP also built two community gardens.

Best Practice Award Winner: Community Partnership

Rebuild Upstate was the other recipient. They partner with other nonprofits, schools, churches, and businesses in a number of ways. We want to specifically highlight the fact that this year, the City of Greenville, South Carolina contracted with Rebuild Upstate to manage its entire home repair/home rehab program. Rebuild Upstate also partners with three area agencies on aging to provide minor home repairs for seniors, the state Housing Trust Fund to provide larger repairs for residents, and the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority to provide home rehabilitation to county residents.


Best Practice Award Winner: Volunteer/Camper Hospitality

Raise the Roof Project was the recipient. One of their volunteers nominated them and co-director Jan Bailey elaborated for us, “At Raise the Roof Project campers and their leaders are vital to the projects. We have no paid staff except for our summer college interns who are paid a nominal stipend. Our incredible volunteers are giving their time as an offering to God and we are ever so grateful. We send handwritten thank you note to every person who gave of their time and resources to help the camp run smoothly and make the campers feel welcome. Our volunteers are very much a part of the Raise the Roof family. We are one body, working together in the Name of Christ to help those who cannot help themselves.” Ozark Mission Project received honorable mention in this award category for their “drivers’ den” for adult campers. They provide snacks and a staff person to answer questions. It’s a place for them to unwind and talk with other adults.

Best Practice Award Winner: Innovative Home Repair Methods

Appalachia Service Project was the recipient. ASP volunteers nominated them for the award. Dennis Burley, ASP’s Home Repair Coordinator, accepted the award. “We focus on energy efficiency, with the goal of reducing costs for the homeowner,” he explained. One system the organization has adopted for mobile homes has shown a 50 percent reduction in energy bills according to the homeowners. This innovative structure-wrapping technique not only saves money for the homeowners, it is cost-effective, easy for volunteers to complete, and the finished project is almost maintenance free. Milford Housing Development Corporation received honorable mention in this award category for their oversight committee that determines potential program participant’s eligibility and assesses the emergency nature of the work requested. Committee members represent a cross-section of the county’s population and include at least one person who is a former program participant.

Best Practice Award Winner: Management Excellence

Sierra Service Project was the recipient. Megan Walsh, SSP’s Program Director, accepted the award and explained that their five-person central staff is involved in a variety of courses and meet-up groups through the local Nonprofit Resource Center. SSP pays for these courses and covers a portion of college courses for employees pursuing degrees. SSP also hires 42 summer staffers, offering online pre-training followed by 10 days of hands-on classroom training with a variety of outside experts and resources included. Each summer staff person is required to take Sabbath time which is four hours each week away from work duties. This past year, SSP offered a Leadership Academy for some returning summer staff “to study best leadership practices and how these practices relate to their personal faith.”

Best Practice Award Winner: Innovative Fundraising

Alabama Rural Ministry the recipient. ARM replicates poverty housing by having their director and other community members live in “shacks.” These are small houses big enough to put a mattress; they sit in downtown Auburn. Lisa Pierce stays for a week and sleeps in the shack at night. They also do poverty workshops on the AU campus. Last year the shack raised $64,000.


Best Practice Award Winner: Volunteer/Camper Hospitality

Rippling Hope was the recipient. Their nomination said, “Rippling Hope is all about hospitality. Carl and Robin Zerweck, along with their volunteers and interns, help to make every volunteer experience top notch. Food is made by Robin every day, showing the importance of nourishing the workers. While we served with them this year, she graciously helped teach one of our youth who was interested in cooking and food prep. Carl is a jokester, and his light-heartedness often shows in his attention to detail in getting to know each individual on a trip to serve with R.H. It matters not if it is a middle schooler, high schooler, or adult, Carl wants to hear about their day each evening and get to know about their lives back home. And he remembers those learned tidbits for years to come.” Thanks for being a great example of what it means to serve those who are serving, Rippling Hope!

Best Practice Award Winner: Innovative Home Repair Methods

Sierra Service Project was the recipient for providing tool training for youth. A former SSP employee who nominated them said, “Sierra Service Project has been innovative in incorporating hands-on tool training to youth volunteers. Since the age range of volunteers varies greatly, Sierra Service Project has integrated an in-depth, fun, hands-on way of teaching youth volunteers proper practices. This means volunteers whose projects don’t necessarily use a power tool, still get an education on proper use of them. This provides a fun, innovative lesson that can be integrated into other parts of the youth’s life.” What a great idea! We hope that other organizations will implement this best practice as well.

SSP staff

Best Practice Award Winner: Management Excellence

Reach Mission Trips (formerly Reach Work Camps) was the recipient. One of their nominations said, “I worked for Reach and it was the most life-changing experience ever. I received so much guidance and encouragement from the staff.” Another nomination said,“The summer staff is all brought together at the beginning of the summer for a two week period of training. During this period they are given a place to stay and all meals are paid for. The staff is trained and challenged in ways that allows team building and lasting friendships between summer staff and full-time staff members. Each staff member is trained together and individually by full-time staff members who are caring and attentive to any needs.” Great job, Reach! Keep up the excellent work!

Best Practice Award Winner: Electronic Marketing

ReWiGo Ministries was the recipient. Their nomination said, “ReWiGo, through their partnership with Engenius, produces consistent content using e-mail marketing to engage with supporters and maintains a top-notch responsive website to quickly and easily convey its mission. ReWiGo also self-manages its Facebook page and posts a combination of organization-specific posts (such as photos of completed projects), relevant news posts, and inspiring messages throughout the year to keep ReWiGo at the top of mind among volunteers, supporters, and the community.” Be sure to follow ReWiGo Ministries on Facebook and check out their website. Congrats, ReWiGo!