State/Provincial Level in Susan's Utopia

November 2002
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.

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