Photo by Nic White Photography

Who We Are

Erin Barnhart, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert in domestic and international service, service-learning, and volunteer engagement. She has been quoted by such media sources as, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Post, The Boston Globe, Smart Money, Marie Claire, Verge Magazine, and Budget Travel and has developed and delivered effective engagement tools, trainings, and resources for volunteers, interns, students, field professionals, and service/service-learning organizations worldwide.

In addition to her role as Founder & President of Effective Altruism, LLC, Erin serves as the Chair of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon’s Lane County Leadership and Advocacy Team, as well as on the Advisory Council for Fund the People and the Oregon Committee on Volunteerism; she was also one of the founding board members of the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). Dr. Barnhart also serves as an online instructor for AmeriCorps VISTA and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon and with IPSL. Lastly, she was a state-level volunteer organizer for the first annual Women's March on Washington in 2017.

In 2015, Erin served pro bono as the Director of Operations for the Gap Year Association. From 2011-2014, Erin served as the Graduate Program Director for IPSL's Master of Arts in International Development and Service program with Concordia University-Portland. Prior to that, she served on the staff of for four years where, as Director of Volunteerism Initiatives, she designed and stewarded the growth of their volunteer and volunteer resource management programs. Erin wrote and developed three of’s free online information centers on volunteer engagement: the Volunteer Resource Center for domestic volunteers, the International Volunteerism Resource Center for international volunteers, and the Volunteer Management Resource Center for volunteer management professionals and other leaders of volunteers. She also crafted the model for and coordinated’s Global Volunteering Fairs.

Erin has served as a keynote speaker, facilitated trainings, and participated on expert panels at a number of regional, national, and international gatherings and conferences, including the Intercultural Horizons Conference, NAFSA Region I Conference, National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference, National Conference on Volunteering and ServiceAssociation for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Conference, International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) World Volunteer ConferenceIAVE Asia-Pacific Regional Conference, and Volonteurope European Workshop on Voluntary Action.

Erin earned her Ph.D. in Urban Studies from Portland State University in 2012, having completed her dissertation research on global host organizations of international volunteers. In 2004, Dr. Barnhart was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Canada to study volunteer centers in British Columbia and the Yukon. An AmeriCorps*NCCC alum, Erin also has an MPA in Public Policy and a Graduate Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management, both from the University of Oregon.