State/Provincial Level in Susan's Utopia:
(Beginning of Hot Topic)
The State or Provincial Association of Volunteerism:
- Generally works with individual practitioners and DOVIA and Volunteer Center representatives, but often also involves anyone interested in furthering volunteerism, including frontline volunteers themselves.
- Fosters both formal and informal exchange (through newsletters, Web sites, regional events) among colleagues – particularly fostering the synergy of various communities.
- Convenes members periodically for face-to-face exchange and education, particularly on topics relevant to their own state/province. (Generally in conference format.)
- Finds ways to identify what members do in order to facilitate the sharing of skills and resources.
- Represents the profession to other state professional societies to develop collaborations, cross-education, and other exchanges.
- Supports local DOVIAs and works with members in communities without a DOVIA to form a local network, or possible to form a Volunteer Centers.
- Supports the State/Provincial Office.
Click here to see what a setting-specific association does.
The State/Provincial Office of Volunteerism:
Note: One confusing issue of this level is whether or not the state/provincial office is a unit of government or an independent agency. In most situations (and certainly in my Utopia), this agency is indeed part of government or is quasi-governmental. It’s hard to understand what an independent nonprofit organization can do at this level, unless it is formed as a cooperative arrangement among local Volunteer Centers. At any rate, assuming a government connection, the State Office:
- Provides the public with a central point to contact to find local or state-wide volunteerism resources. This includes a Web site with both collected information and clear links to locally-accessible organizations and their Web sites.
- Collects and disseminates information on who is doing what in that state in terms of volunteer programming,
- Advocates for effective volunteer program management within state government agencies (!!!).
- Brings issues affecting volunteerism to the attention of state government officials and regulatory bodies. Helps local constituents understand state government and where to go for information and help.
- Works to link various “streams of service,” such as service-learning programs funded through the State Department of Education, welfare-to-work projects, court-ordered projects, or other state initiatives to the volunteer community.
- Supports the State/Provincial Association and participates as a partner in any state conference.
- Provides technical assistance to municipalities seeking to create a local government volunteer coordinating office.
- Involves the Governor in recognizing volunteers.