Sarah Jane Rehnborg, Ph.D.

Associate Director


Sarah Jane Rehnborg joined the RGK Center at its inception. An expert in volunteerism, Dr. Rehnborg is a published author in the field and has served as a consultant and trainer to organizations including the Points of Light Foundation, AARP, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Texas Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (now the OneStar Foundation), the Texas Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation, the Comptroller's Office of the State of Texas and numerous local groups.
Dr. Rehnborg's RGK contribution includes grant development and reporting, community outreach and research. As a researcher, Dr. Rehnborg lead a cross-disciplinary University team which developed a valid and reliable tool to assess programs engaging volunteers and national service participants for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Her work with Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas resulted in a Performance Based Assessment System for the state’s 65 Children’s Advocacy Centers. In addition, she completed a study on volunteer engagement in state agencies and analyzed Texas data collection practices in the field. Her work with United Jewish Communities (UJC) examined the effects of intensive service learning experiences on the development of Jewish identity among young Jews. With funding from the Volunteer Impact Fund, Rehnborg examined the perceptions of executive directors about volunteer engagement and developed Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Guide for Nonprofit and Public Sector Leaders.  
In addition to establishing a program of volunteerism and community education at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in the 1970s, Dr. Rehnborg established the Institute for Volunteerism at the Community College of Allegheny County and served as Associate Administrator of Human Resources at John J. Kane Hospital, a 1,200 bed extended care facility. As president of the international Association for Volunteer Administration, Dr. Rehnborg testified before a Congressional hearing sponsored by Senator Durenberger (R-MN).
Her high school curriculum in service-learning was adopted by the State of Maryland and was the lead component of the United Way of Pittsburgh's Volunteer Youth Training and Leadership, which received the national Second Century Award from the United Way of America and was cited as the 100th Point of Light. During her tenure with the University of Texas, Rehnborg worked as a Program Director for Community Engagement at the Charles A. Dana Center prior to joining the RGK Center.
Rehnborg is a member of the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies Bridging Discipline Committee, and serves as Academic Advisor to the University of Texas Service Scholars Program. Dr. Rehnborg teaches courses in nonprofit board governance and community engagement at the graduate level. She received her undergraduate degree from Denison University and her Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Rehnborg Publications

Rehnborg, S.J. “The Professor Is In: Classroom Techniques That Capture Critical Issues in Volunteer Management, Part 1,” e-Volunteerism, 13:2, January 2013.

Rehnborg, S.J. “The Professor Is In: Using Classroom Techniques in Your Volunteering Presentations, Part 2,” e-Volunteerism, 13:3, April 2013.

Rehnborg, S.J. “The Vocabulary, Rationale and Critiques of Professional Credentialing,” e-Volunteerism, 12:1, October 2011

Rehnborg, S. J. and Moore, M. (2011) “Strategic Volunteer Engagement” in The Volunteer Management Handbook, (2nd Edition) Editor Tracey Connors, Wiley Nonprofit Series. In press.
Rehnborg, S.J., Poole, D. L. and Roemer, M.K. (2011) “Leading Volunteers in Nonprofit Organizations” in Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: A Reference Handbook, Kathryn Agard (Ed), Sage Publications.

Seel, K. and Rehnborg, S.J. (2010). “A History of the Profession of Volunteer Administration” in Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice, Keith Seel, Ed. LexisNexis, Canada. pp. 507-538.

Case Studies:
  • Go Volunteer ProBono: Skilled
  • Hill Country Ride for AIDS: the Challenges of Replication
  • Austin Partners in Education
  • Knowbility
  • Austin Smiles: Recruiting a New Generation of Physicians
  • The University of Texas at Austin: Is Student Service Part of a University's Service Mandate?
  • United Way Capital Area: Competing Volunteer Leadership Groups
  • Seton Hospital: the Relevance of Auxiliaries in Healthcare
Rehnborg, S.J., Sinatra, C. & Bies, A. (2010) “What Do We Really Know about Nonprofits’ Capacity to Manage Volunteers” The International Journal of Volunteer Administration. 27:1, 14-26.
Rehnborg, S.J., and Douglas, R.V. (2009) I Live Here I Give Here Central Texas Campaign for Philanthropy, Phase II Evaluation Report.
Rehnborg, S.J. with Bailey, W.L, Moore, M. & Sinatra, C. (2009) Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Guide for Nonprofit and Public Sector Leaders. OneStar Foundation: Austin, TX.
Rehnborg, S.J.; Carpluk, B.; French, V.; Lin, S.; Repp, D.; Seals, C.; Sherestha, R.; Zahid, R. (2009) An Outcome Measurement System for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc. (June, 2009) LBJ School Policy Research Project Report.
Rehnborg, S.J. Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas: Outcome Measurement System Administrative Guide. (May 2009) LBJ School Policy Research Project.
Rehnborg, S. J., Lee, J., Veron, R, & Zaligson, J. (2008). Jewish Peoplehood and Identity Immersion Service Programs: Demographic and Outcome Analysis Report to United Jewish Communities. RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service.
Rehnborg, S.J. (2008), PTA Volunteer Recruitment, Our Children Magazine. (The flagship publication of the national PTA)
Musick, Marc A., Rehnborg, S. J. and Worthen, M. G. F.   “The Social Antecedents of Collegiate Volunteering.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.
Rehnborg, S.J. and T. McVey. 2008. Volunteers in State Government (book Chapter)

The Investigator

Rehnborg, S. J., M. K. Roemer and P. Frumkin, Lance Armstrong Foundation LIVESTRONG Survivorship Summit: Final Evaluation Report. RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. Oct. 26, 2007

Rehnborg, S..J., W.L. Bailey, and M. Moore. "Volunteers: An HR Asset?" (Under review).

Rehnborg, S.J., D. Poole, M. Roemer, L. Mangrum, K. Casey, and D. Duvall. "Designing and Testing the Volunteer Assessment Tool (VPAT)." Nonprofit Management and Leadership (Under review)

Rehnborg, S.J., M. Roemer, and T. McVey. 2007. "Volunteers in US State Government Agencies: Using Texas as a Model." Vrijwillige Inzet Onderzocht (Voluntary Effort Researched-Holland) 3(2):27-40.

Rehnborg, S.J. (2006). A US perspective on volunteerism. In J Butcher y Maria Guadalupe Serna (Ed.), El tercer sector en Mexico: Perspectivas de investigacion (pp. 372-388). Mexico City, Mexico: Centro Mexican para la Filantropia.

Rehnborg, S. J., Barker, C. & Pocock, M. (2006). How much is an hour of volunteer time worth? Various methods to monetize the contributions of a volunteer's time. E-Volunteerism, The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community. VI:2 (January-March 2006).

Rehnborg, S. J. (2005). Government volunteerism in the new millennium. In J. L. Brudney (Ed.), Emerging areas of volunteering (pp. 93-112). Indianapolis, IN: Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Rehnborg, S.J., Poole, D., Casey, K., & Duvall, D. (2004). Tools for improving programs: A national quality assessment project for national and community service programs. Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Rehnborg, S. J., & Musick M. (2004) In the heart of Texas: Student volunteerism at the University of Texas at Austin, Journal of Volunteer Administration, 22:2, pp 26-34.

Rehnborg, S. J. & Pocock, M. (2004) Pioneering project helps researchers get volunteering right. E-Volunteerism, The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community. IV:4, July-October 2004.

Rehnborg, S. J. & DeSpain, M. (2003). Investing in volunteerism: Recommendations emerging from the study of the impact of volunteers in Texas state agencies. Journal of Volunteer Administration, 21:2, pp 33-38.

Rehnborg, S. J., Fallon, C. K., & Hinerfeld, B. (2002) Investing in volunteerism: An analysis of service initiatives in selected state agencies. Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs under contract with the Texas Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

Rehnborg, S. J. (2002). Coping with change: An experiential exercise. E-Volunteerism, The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community. II:3, April-June 2002.

In the News

OneStar Foundation - 01/24/2013 Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg presents at 2013 Texas Volunteer Management Conference

Dr. Rehnborg’s session, Frameworks for Management, examined two tools for engagement within organizations and the broader community at large. She also presented an Advanced Workshop entitled Understanding and Navigating Conflict in the Workplace. The conference is designed to provide broad based, affordable training for professional volunteer managers in Texas and nearby states. Learn more.

Social Velocity - 11/30/2010 In the Trenches Raising Growth Capital: An Interview with Anna Land

Nell Edgington of Social Velocity interviews Anna Land, founder of Heart House, a nonprofit after-school program for low-income children.

Stanford Social Innovation Review - 11/29/2010 Research: Volunteering for Number One

Sarah Jane Rehnborg weighs in on a study that suggests that for young volunteers, it's not just about résumé padding. (Subscription required for article.)

Austin-American Statesman - 07/16/2010 Austin's volunteer reputation taking a hit

Sarah Jane Rehnborg discusses Austin's fall to 36th in federal report's ranking.

Austin-American Statesman - 10/08/2009 Hard Times are Good for Philanthropy

Sarah Jane Rehnborg discusses the changes to volunteerism in the current economic climate.

Our Children, The PTA National Magazine - 09/01/2008 PTA Volunteer Recruitment Step by Step

Sarah Jane Rehnborg writes about how PTA leaders can ensure their units remain effective and active voices for children, families and education by recruiting volunteers and helping them succeed. (PDF)

Austin American-Statesman - 05/05/2007 Doing Good for Do-Gooders

Sarah Jane Rehnborg comments on the history of Austin volunteer centers established through United Way's Hands on Central Texas.


09/15/2007 - New York, NY

The United Hospital Fund - presented research on the organizational self-assessment tool the Center performed for the Corporation for National and Community Service to health-related and community-based volunteer managers.

08/25/2007 - San Antonio, TX

American Hospital Association - "Turning Executive Directors into Volunteer Champions."

07/18/2007 - Philadelphia, PA

National Community Service Conference - "Turning Executive Directors into Volunteer Champions."

06/07/2007 - Kansas City, MO

American Humanics Conference - "Curriculum Development in Volunteer Administration: A Retrospective Analysis."

06/01/2007 - Garland, TX

Texas Association of Healthcare Volunteers Convention - "Difficult Conversations: Handling Conflict in the Workplace"

04/06/2007 - Austin, TX

Barbara Jordan Forum, LBJ School at University of Texas - "Strategic Uses of Volunteers"

03/03/2007 - Dallas, TX

American Lung Association, National Staff Conference - "Engaging Volunteers in the Work of the Organization: Tips and Techniques."

02/08/2007 - New York, NY

United Hospital Fund and the Greater New Association of Directors of Volunteer Services and the New York Association for Volunteer Administration - Half-day workshop building on the assessment instrument developed for the Corporation for National and Community Service.


Web presentation for Everyone Ready¨, an online volunteer management staff development program operated by ENERGIZE, Inc. - presented research in volunteerism and volunteer administration.

09/22/2006 - Philadelphia, PA

American Society of Directors of Volunteer Service National Conference - presented two workshops.

09/13/2006 - Mexico City, Mexico

Center for Mexican Philanthropy (CEMEFI) Conference - "The Effects of Legislation on Volunteer Involvement in Select Health and Human Service Organizations."

06/19/2006 - Seattle, WA

National Conference on Volunteering and Service - "Volunteer Management Competencies: A Roadmap for Change" at the national conference sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Points of Light Foundation."

06/12/2006 - Austin, TX

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - "Strategic Volunteering for Young Nonprofit Professionals."

04/04/2006 - Perth, Australia

International Congress on Volunteerism, Democracy, Administration, and the Evolution of Future Landscapes - presented on the long term role and viability of volunteers.

01/25/2006 - Austin, TX

One Star Foundation's Texas Demonstration Project - moderated panel discussion Capacity-Building.