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National/International Level in Susan's Utopia

November 2002
Beginning of Hot Topic

The National Professional Association:

  • Works with individual practitioners, DOVIA and State Association representatives, and representatives from volunteerism resource organizations to strengthen the profession.
  • Fosters both formal and informal exchange (through journals, Web sites, listservs, regional events) among colleagues – particularly fostering the synergy of various communities
  • Convenes members periodically for face-to-face exchange and education, particularly on topics concerning the whole country. (Generally in conference format.)
  • Finds ways to identify and promote what members do in order to facilitate the sharing of skills and resources.
  • Publishes key documents, particularly on professional development, ethics, etc.
  • Certifies practitioners.
  • Represents the profession to other national associations, particularly to those with a key connection to the field, such as the professional societies of fundraisers, social workers, nurses, teachers, academics and researchers, all of whom need to understand volunteerism.
  • Supports State Associations and works with individual members and DOVIAs in states without an Association to form one.
  • Supports the National Resource Center.

Click here to see what a setting-specific association

The National Resource Center for Volunteerism:
As noted with the state/provincial level, this organization may or may not be a part of federal government. Unlike the lower level, however, there are good reasons for there to be both an independent nonprofit agency and a national government agency providing umbrella resources for the field. And, in Susan’s Utopia, they work together!

The national level:

  • Provides the public with a national contact point to be directed to more local volunteerism resources. This includes a Web site with both collected information and clear links to more geographically-accessible organizations and their Web sites.
  • Spearheads national visibility and celebration of volunteering through such methods as National Volunteer Week themes, national media materials, and other promotion.
  • Collects and disseminates information on who is doing what in terms of volunteer programming, and advocates for replication of excellent projects. Supports needed research about volunteering and produces informative reports.
  • Produces (or identifies and obtains) and distributes all sorts of resources on effective volunteer involvement.
  • Brings issues affecting volunteerism to the attention of national government officials and regulatory bodies. Participates in developing legislation to support volunteering. Helps local constituents understand the federal government and where to go for information and help.(If part of government, advocates for effective volunteer program management within federal government agencies.)
  • Advocates with national funders for more money for the field.
  • Works to link various “streams of service,” such as stipended national service programs, service-learning initiatives, and other special projects with the rest of the volunteer community.
  • Supports the state/provincial associations and offices and works with those states or provinces without such resources to develop them.
  • Supports the national professional association and partners in national conferences.
  • Provides technical assistance to national organizations seeking to create or strengthen their volunteer coordinating systems.
  • Involves the President, Premier, or Monarch in recognizing volunteers.

International Level:

The international bodies stimulate international exchange, cross-education, international volunteer cooperation on causes that cross national boundaries (AIDS, the environment, etc.), and translation of materials for wider use. They also engage themselves in supporting volunteer development efforts within emerging or struggling countries.

Whew. OK. Let the commenting begin!

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