Demaray (1).jpg Encore Fellows bring years of experience and a wealth of knowledge and skills to their fellowship assignments. They are eager to learn about the important work you do and to have a significant positive impact on your organization’s mission. While the typical fellowship assignment is for six to 12 months, many host organizations have found ways to retain their fellows for further work or have even hired their fellows outright.

Encore Fellow Work Host Criteria and Responsibilities

Work hosts, typically non profit or public agencies, create and manage impactful Encore Fellow assignments. The goal of the fellowship is to significantly impact the organization's mission and capacity and promote the fellow's knowledge of and network in the social sector through hands-on experience.

Work Host Criteria and Responsibilities:

• Work hosts are social purpose organizations and typically non profits, education organizations, or public agencies, but can also be hybrid social purpose entities.

• High-impact work: A work host identifies a role or assignment for the fellow that advances its mission and impact 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 a 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 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 expertise in the social sector. The ideal fellowship is a year-long and part-time, with flexibility to accommodate the needs and circumstances of the fellow and the work host.

• Financial support: 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.

Encore Fellow Work Host Program Results (based on 2009-2012 Program Completion Surveys of 65 Work Hosts)

• 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, 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.

Hear from Encore Fellow Work Hosts

Renee Rhiner photo 7.20.12 sm.JPG"At this point Renee is playing a key role in a series of projects. Some of her tools are now being used by others. Her impact is felt just by how she does her job.

We are so positive about this experience that we are adding another Encore Fellow to our program, plus we are using an Encore Fellow alumni in a continuing consulting role."

Mark Young, Chief Operating Officer, Friends of the Children, Portland, OR

Derek.jpgDerek Mitchell is the CEO of Partners in School Innovation, a school-based education reform organization in San Francisco. As Partners in School Innovation has expanded its program, it has hosted Encore Fellows in 2009, 2010, and 2012 to help build its capacity. They are applying for a new fellow for 2013. Listen to Derek speak about his experience as a Work Host. More >


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


The first step is to find an Encore Fellowships program seeking work hosts. Program administrators can provide information about the particular focus and terms of their program. Please note that many programs limit work host applications to an invitation-only basis. Each program follows an 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.

Once your organization is accepted into a program, you will be able to describe your need in detail and begin the matching process to identify a fellow to work with you.

Each program may have a range of funding models. Work hosts typically pay some or all of the fellows' stipend and a modest program participation fee. Many - but not all - fellows have a partial sponsorship from a former employer or other organization. The stipend itself 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.

If a match is made, you and your fellow will work together to define the objectives and scope of the project. You will be responsible for providing space, equipment, a proper orientation and an executive to sponsor the fellow’s work. In addition to what you provide, the program operator may offer opportunities for your fellow to interact with other fellows and ways for them to learn more broadly about the sector and about career opportunities in social-purpose work.


We are currently working with a number of organizations in various locations around the U.S. who want to offer Encore Fellowships in their communities.

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

Please contact us so we can let you know about new programs that might be of interest to you and – with your permission – let program sponsors and operators know of your interest.


PatG.jpg"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

"For years we were eager to examine our hypothesis that our unique model blending financial counseling and financial services truly works. Within a few months John was able to capitalize on data we had been sitting on for years to not only prove impact; he also gave us a groundbreaking tool to design innovative interventions and enable a win-win."

Justine Zinkin, CEO, Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, New York, NY

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

Click here to begin the application process.


If you are interested in hosting a Fellow in your organization, please refer to the program directory and look for a local Program Operator.
Program Directory page
For all other inquiries please click on the link below.
Contact Us


A new case study examines Encore.org's experience expanding its Encore Fellows program quickly and efficiently. More >

Read Anne Gable's story as a Business Development Encore Fellow at Aspiranet, called "Innovation, Collaboration, and Learning."

More >

Derek Mitchell is the CEO of Partners in School Innovation, a Work Host in the 2009, 2010, and 2012 Silicon Valley Encore Fellowships classes.

More >


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The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, signed by President Obama in 2009, establishes 10 federal encore fellowships in each state for Americans age 55 and older. Funding has yet to be approved. More >

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 >