Local Level in Susan's Utopia

November 2002
(Beginning of Hot Topic)

The Individual Practitioner takes responsibility for:

  • Self-education – learning how to lead the best possible volunteer involvement effort through reading books and periodicals, attending training sessions, and interacting with colleagues.
  • Internal education of agency executives and staff on what is necessary to support volunteers.
  • Connecting to or participating in wider community activities such as National Volunteer Week
  • Recruiting volunteers specifically for one agency, which includes the listing/posting of opportunities in centralized databases at all levels.
  • Collecting and reporting data about volunteer contributions both internally and for community-wide studies.

The Agency in Which Volunteers Work is responsible for:

  • Articulating a vision for volunteer involvement in its setting and laying the foundation necessary for success: goals, policies, budget and resources, etc.
  • Hiring qualified staff to coordinate volunteers.
  • Training other agency staff to work effectively with volunteers.

The Local DOVIA (or whatever you wish to call the local network of practitioners of volunteer management, regardless of setting):

  • Works with individual volunteer management practitioners.
  • Brings colleagues together for both formal and informal exchange – particularly fostering the synergy of various settings.
  • Provides education opportunities, especially the chance to discuss the local implications of more global issues. Works with local colleges to establish academic courses.
  • Nurtures newcomers to the field (mentoring) and stimulates veterans (professional development opportunities)
  • Forms collaborations and cooperative ventures.
  • Uses the umbrella of the association to respond to local issues in a way individual members cannot, such as protesting the elimination of a volunteer management position or contacting the mayor about a city ordinance affecting volunteers.
  • Supports the local Volunteer Center.

The Local Volunteer Center:

  • Works with:
    • agencies that involve volunteers formally, usually through the designated volunteer resources manager;
    • agencies that do not involve volunteers formally (yet), usually through the executive director
    • members of the public who wish to volunteer
    • leaders of all-volunteer associations such as civic groups
    • schools, businesses, and others seeking ways to get their students, employees, and other constituents engaged in service
  • Provides a centralized contact point for all local volunteer-involving agencies, particularly for volunteer recruitment and referral. Continually publicizes the importance and impact of volunteering in general.
  • Models effective volunteer involvement by recruiting and working with volunteers who assist with (or lead) the Center’s activities.
  • On behalf of all constituent volunteer-involving agencies, interacts with local government officials, community funders, and business leaders to generate more resources and recognition of the field.
  • Provides visibility to volunteerism through media relations, awards, public forums, etc.
  • Coordinates National Volunteer Week celebrations for its community.
  • Develops a library of volunteerism materials available to all.
  • Targets agencies or settings in which volunteerism is not yet developed and advocates/consults/provides technical assistance to form new volunteer programs.
  • Serves individuals who are seeking volunteer work.
  • Serves all-volunteer organizations.
  • Provides training opportunities for all constituencies, including notifying everyone of workshops and conferences taking place elsewhere, but of possible interest. (Occasionally rents a bus to take a group of local folks to an important event that is less than a four-hour ride away.)
  • Collects and reports data on the state-of-volunteerism in its community, fostering an understanding of the scope and breadth of volunteer activity (countering stereotypes).
  • Supports the local DOVIA.
  • Interprets trends in volunteerism for and to the local community, and represents that community to the volunteer world at large.

or continue reading:
State/provincial level | National/International Level | Special Settings | Intro and Principles