Update on Developments Since the Original Hot Topic Essay

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Update on Developments Since the Original Hot Topic Essay

Was Posted on 1 March 2006

3 August 2006

Breaking news! Announcement of the Congress of Volunteer Administrator Associations for the US (the next step in planning the future of our profession).

11 July 2006

21 June 2006

I'm back from Seattle and can report some important progress in the process towards reorganization.  There were two official meetings and many informal caucuses during the four days.  Nancy Macduff has posted a preliminary report on the most formal of the meetings on Saturday, June 17, on her site, Volunteer Today.  Official minutes are being prepared by that session's outside facilitators and Points of Light staff and will be disseminated sometime next week (and, of course, added here).  From my perspective, the following were the highlights of the 4-hour session:

  • Approximately 100 people participated in person or on the phone, representing at least 30 different DOVIAs or state associations -- and identifying themselves in that capacity.  Bravo to the 15-20 people who traveled to Seattle specifically and only for this meeting!  There were also participants from outside the US (Canada, Scotland, England , Australia), all of whom strongly supported the concept of a new association beginning its focus on American needs first.
  • Led by Claudia Dalton of the Foster Grandparent Program in Vancouver, Washington, a majority of the "leadership team" from VRM-Roundtable were present and very engaged during the meeting.  But initially there was tension between those who felt the VRM-Roundtable task forces were "already doing" the work vs. those who preferred a slower process.  Happily, the follow-up meeting addressed that directly (please keep reading).
  • Surprisingly absent from the session was a specific offer from the Points of Light Foundation to "incubate" a new association for a time.  Other than a welcome from Bob Goodwin, CEO, no one else from Points of Light spoke nor attended the follow-up meeting.
  • Pam Lemp, president of ASDVS (American Society of Directors of Volunteer Services -- the association for practitioners in healthcare) , publicly invited the group to convene a second major face-to-face meeting in conjunction with their convention in Philadelphia this September, and the offer was unanimously accepted.  So mark your calendars for:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

4:00 pm to 8:00 p.m.

Philadelphia Marriott Hotel

More details to come, of course.     

  • Because 2,000+ conferees were present in Seattle, the suggestion was made to make use of this opportunity to spark additional interest in an association.  A small committee agreed to write a short questionnaire assessing interest and gathering e-mail addresses, and have it copied and distributed at the next day's luncheon. Points of Light agreed to pay for the copying and have the surveys given out.  Also, the VRM-Roundtable agreed to re-open their online survey and so the questionnaire also directed people to complete that survey.

On Monday evening, June 19th, a follow-up meeting was held for anyone interested. Approximately 40 people returned for this 2-hour session, which accomplished a great deal.  Thanks to Joan Brown of Marin County (CA) Civic Center Volunteers for facilitating the session. Minutes were taken and will also be disseminated.  Highlights for me were:

  • We had the chance to talk through the tension between those on the VRM-Roundtable task forces and those not and -- I believe -- alleviate it, to everyone's relief.  We agreed to move forward as a united effort, with the current VRM task forces slowing down their activities over the summer.
  • Todd McMullin from Samaritan Technologies offered his company's software and Web site to the group free of charge to provide a new space without baggage, history, or strings.  In fact, he will work with the leadership team to secure a new domain name and put up whatever information is wished, as well as to develop a single database of all people interested in being kept informed about and possibly joining a new association.
  • The VRM-Roundtable leadership team agreed to expand to include several new people representing a few of the existing DOVIAs or state associations which had sent representatives to the meeting -- and the rest of us agreed to let this leadership team lead the planning towards the meeting in Philadelphia!  Jim Marshall, of the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism, accepted the invitation to be the point person for the group between now and September's meeting.
  • Approximately 300 questionnaires from the luncheon had been turned in and needed to be digitized for the mailing list.  Victoria Eggleston of the Cedar Mill Community Library in Orgeon volunteered this service and will get the data to Samaritan.  Our goal is to continue inviting colleagues to express interest and grow this list.

More information will follow, but I wanted to at least post the most important developments as soon as possible for those of you who could not join us in Seattle.

16 June 2006

One more update in advance of tomorrow's meeting.  Happily, VRM-Roundtable will be represented and will report on the progress to date of their task forces.  I just received the following e-mail from Claudia Dalton, who will act as spokesperson:

There are nine of us who have been elected by our teams to serve as the Team Leader.  We make up the Leadership Team.  This team is the decision making body and holds the reins of the project. Charity Channel has generously provided this site as a public service but is not involved in our work. The listings of complete teams is listed on the site along with the Team Leaders weekly blogs about what each team is doing. Currently there are 104 individuals from all over the country participating on one, or more, teams. As Team Leaders we invite anyone with a comment or opinion to share to please email the information to us.  Everyone's ideas are valued and included in our work. I look forward to seeing you at the Forum. 

Many of us hope that the face-to-face meeting will enable a more cohesive and less fragmented effort to renew a professional association. This week's news (see below) of the legal independence of certification and the old journal also changes some of the discussion.  Stay tuned....

14 June 2006

Everyone registered for the meeting this Saturday has been sent an advance set of handouts to read in preparation.  Two of the documents are important in officially explaining the current status of CVA certification and the journal:

1.  CVA credentialing is not going to be under NOVAA as previously announced, but there is now a new organization called the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA), incorporated in Virginia and with an independent board. Read Katie Campbell's report here.

2.  The Journal of Volunteer Administration is no longer an asset available to a new association.  It has been legally transferred to North Carolina State University, will become an electronic publication, and have a name change to I-JOVA (The International Journal of Volunteer Administration).  Read R. Dale Safrit's report here.

The other handouts are reports from regional meetings of practitioners held around the country, sharing their thoughts on what might come next.  As these are not factual news, I'm not posting them here.  I will continue to make available anything that is distributed at or after the meeting that informs site visitors of actual actions taken.  Wish us luck on Saturday!

6 June 2006

The agenda for the Seattle meeting has been set and can be downloaded here.  Thanks to the UPS Foundation, an outside facilitator has been hired to run the discussion itself.  The agenda includes reports from various sources, including Charity Channel's VRM-Roundtable.  The e-mail that just arrived says, in part:

This forum provides an opportunity for us all to learn about efforts already underway, envision and develop options for continuing to advocate and support our professional identity, and to maintain momentum in the process of organizing... Since this forum immediately precedes the Conference, we look forward to many people participating in person.  

Whether or not you are participating in person or by phone, or would just like to remain involved, please complete the registration form.

Walk-ins to the meeting are welcomed, but pre-registration will really help in planning.

26 May 2006

It was just brought to our attention that the original date in the revised meeting time for Seattle had the right day -- Saturday -- but the wrong date.  To clarify, the meeting is Saturday, June 17, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (it's corrected below now, too -- sorry!).  When we learn who the outside facilitator will be and what the agenda is, we'll post the information here. 

16 May 2006

I wanted to post something again simply to show that we continue to monitor what's going on, but there is little news -- in itself a bit disturbing.  A few updates:

  • Points of Light has transferred responsibility for facilitating the June 16 meeting from Pam Feldmann to Mei Cobb.  This is an in-house transfer, but raises questions about perspectives and agendas, particularly regarding the interrelationship of a possible association of volunteer management practitioners and the existing Volunteer Center National Network.
  • Ellen Didimamoff posted the following as part of a longer message to VMWeb: According to AVA bylaws/policies, AVA membership list cannot not be distributed. Judge for yourself by looking at the actual Bylaws, which I downloaded from the AVA site before it was closed.   I have highlighted pertinent sections in yellow.  The point is that multi-year precedent exists for offering the membership list to paid members as a benefit.  This used to be done by printed directory and then was offered online, as password-protected .  About six months before dissolution, and without any explanation, AVA changed the online directory from full information to names and e-mails only.  While you're reading the Bylaws, consider the statements about needing a member vote BEFORE dissolution and the requirement for an Audit Committee.
  • CharityChannel's VRM Roundtable has now posted the members of its various task forces, but there is no public information yet about what they are doing.  Note to the Bylaws Task Force: Read the document linked above for how NOT to write a set of bylaws, unless you want to disenfranchise the membership.

Again:  If anyone has any substantive news to share, please do so and we'll post it immediately.  Thanks!

5 May 2006

After several changes in scheduling, we now have a longer and more convenient time for the meeting in Seattle to discuss reorganization.  Here is the e-mail I just received -- please note that there is no charge for attending this meeting and it is open to any interested colleague, whether or not you were a member of AVA.  See also the instructions for conference call participation if you cannot be present in Seattle:

As you know, we have struggled to find the best time to accommodate all that want to be engaged in a meeting to discuss and plan next steps from AVA's closing.  We have offered two times for the session and each time, have received concerns about people being unable to attend, conflicts with other important sessions, and/or that there is not enough time scheduled for full discussion.  The final date and time for the meeting is now

Saturday, June 17, 2006

from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

in Seattle.  We are aware that parts of this meeting time conflicts with other important sessions, but believe it represents the best time for all to participate in at least part of the meeting.

It is my understanding that there will be representatives at this meeting of the CharityChannel Task Forces who will explain their work to that point.  So no one direction has been predetermined and all options are open.

27 April 2006

Just received this e-mail from Points of Light (and note the comment in bold):

As discussed, attached is a summary of comments made during the March 28 and April 19 conference calls for AVA's former membership.  The calls were organized by the Points of Light Foundation in response to the recent closing of the Associaton of Volunteer Administrators.  

Note the reference in the document to the June 17 forum to take place at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Seattle, WA.  Since the forum's announcement, interested parties have expressed the need for more time dedicated to this discussion before and during Conference.  The matter is being reviewed.  We will post updates as information develops.

Since the conference calls, the Foundation has made an appeal to the field requesting contact information for local DOVIAs.  The request is being answered enthusiastically with great response from across the nation.  Interested respondants and other parties will be invited to participate in a pre-conference planning session regarding the forum.  Specifics regarding the planning session will be forwarded as they become available.

Feel free to share the notes among your cadre of volunteer leaders.  Let us know if there are any questions or suggestions.  Thank you for your valued work and contributions to the field of voluntering.

Note from Susan:  Many people feel strongly about wanting to make use of the opportunity to be face-to-face in Seattle and not be arbitrarily limited to a short timeslot squeezed between other things.  One way or another, there will be a chance to meet more.  Also, the idea of convening a second face-to-face opportunity in conjunction with the ASDVS conference in Philadelphia at the end of September is moving closer to a definite plan.  More information to come.

19 April 2006

In a continuing effort to provide basic information to everyone about efforts under way to reorganize, here are some items to share:

  • The April 20th issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an article about the demise of AVA, entitled "Association for Managers of Volunteers Collapses In Debt."  It's online for a while at this link.  More information is in this article than has ever been shared with AVA members before this.
  • Seeking Existing Association Representatives!

See Susan's posting to VRM-Roundtable that has largely been overlooked publicly but has generated near-unanimous support off-line.  The most important resource for the field is existing state associations or local networks of volunteer resource managers, who have an opportunity now to connect with each other and form a core working group for a grassroots-up organization.  To this end, Points of Light has offered to set up a conference call for official representatives of these groups, if there is enough interest, to enable you all to connect.  Send an e-mail to Pam Warwick Feldman stating the name of your association and your affliation with it.  The goal is to have this network engaged prior to the meeting in Seattle in June.  PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.

  • CharityChannel has offered a blueprint for a new organization under its auspices and has started to develop task forces to make it operational.  This new effort seems to be moving on a rapid timetable, without collaboration with others.  Keep reading VRM-Roundtable for updates, although the task forces are now going into "private list" format.
  • The two conference calls hosted by the Points of Light Foundation are completed and a summary of the discussion will be available next week.  (We will link to or post this as soon as we can.)  The consensus during these calls is not to rush into organizing something new until a wide range of people have a chance to weigh in with their ideas.  The focus right now is on running a productive, outside-facilitated meeting in Seattle.  (Please note that the time of that meeting has been changed to 5:30-7:00 on June 17.)   Discussions are under way to see if the meeting can be shared by conference call or other means with those who cannot attend in person.

6 April 2006

Two new things to report:

  • The VRM Roundtable Survey 1 report has now been released publicly by the Survey Workgroup.  It is available for free download at http://vrm-roundtable.org/.  You can download the complete report, a summary only, or various components.  A total of 737 respondents completed the survey, the majority of whom had more than three years of experience in the field, many had more than that.   The consensus leans heavily towards starting another association, but there are many different opinions about what that association ought to be doing for its members.  Interesting reading...thanks to all for this work.
  • The American Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ASDVS) has issued an invitation to colleagues in the healthcare field to join its association and is offering a free half-year e-membership.  See the official information here.

3 April 2006

The time for the meeting in Seattle has been set for Saturday, June 17th from 5:30-7:00 p.m.[<--this is a change in time as of 4/19!]   Again, this meeting is open to anyone interested and there is no charge.  (We will continue to post more information here as we learn details.)

23 March 2006

Two new developments have been publicized in the past 24 hours:

  • The Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network has announced two national telephone conference calls to discuss what people in the field might want from a professional association.  See the invitational posting made to CyberVPM and other places with details and how to register.

Also, the meeting at the Seattle conference has been scheduled for Saturday, June 17, but the exact time has not yet been specified.

  • The VRM Roundtable "Survey Workgroup" has just opened "an industry-wide survey about professional needs and a national association."  See the site, read what VRM Roundtable is all about (thank you for an excellent model of openly explaining things!) and take the survey.  The survey is open to all US colleagues and results will be published on the VRM-Roundtable website and in the public domain.

14 March 2006

In an attempt to answer "questions floating around" about the AVA Certification program, Katie Campbell has just provided a detailed report that will be helpful to anyone in the middle of -- or wanting to start -- the process.  In this document, she explains that the Northwest Oregon Volunteer Administrators Association is providing a temporary home for the CVA program, why and what this means, and who can be contacted for further information.

8 March 2006

Apparently the AVA board is still in existence, at least until April 22.  Here are key points Ellen Didimamoff posted to CyberVPM today (all words are hers unless bracketed and deleted sections are shown by ...):

  • ...AVA's data [is] currently being stored either on disk or at a member's residence in Virginia (6-8 boxes).  The reason the boxes stayed in Virginia, is that we did not have money to spend on shipping... 
  • ...[T]he office was closed, but the Association is not officially dissolved until 60 days after the dissolution and transfer of assets was sent out to vote upon:  I believe that date is April 22nd.    
  • The credentialing program as it now is, is still being managed by Katie Campbell, and she is looking at an affiliate in Oregon to temporarily "house" the credentialing program. 
  • ...Please be assured that there has been no payment made to AVA for any of the "intangible assets". 
  • If there are any further questions regarding AVA, please, as I have asked before, contact me at:   Over the past two weeks I have answered hundreds of emails from members and others seeking information at this address.      
  • ... Also, a frequently asked question is:  what happens if AVA's insurance pays anything...what happens to the money?  The answer is that debtors will be paid.  After April 22nd, the board will no longer exist, but I will continue to file papers, etc. for any legal matters....     

7 March 2006 -- More News

  • Right now CyberVPM is where many colleagues are posting both information and opinion.  It seems to be preferred by many because it is a listserv and not a discussion board, and because it is already established.  For example, today news from Dale Safrit was posted about efforts to keep The Journal of Volunteer Administration alive.

7 March 2006

Since this Hot Topic was posted, many, many e-mails and phone calls have been going to and from hundreds of colleagues.  As could be expected, there are healthy differences of opinion circulating about what should happen next and some unavoidable confusion and uncertainty about who will/should emerge to take leadership.  In keeping with my stated goal of sharing as much current information as widely as possible, here is an update of the past week.  As always, I welcome others to post developments of which I am unaware.

  • There is no further news about the legal dissolution of AVA.  The old Web site homepage has been replaced with an obiturary of Mary Merrill, but there is no additional information on anything related to AVA.    At least a percentage of AVA members have not received the information about "voting" for dissolution that was announced in the official notice from the board. 
  • VMweb so far is not providing information about the future of AVA's assets and is not focusing discussion on next steps.  To the contrary, it now seems to be a new forum for general volunteer management and, as of this update, the few postings are not moving things forward.
  • Charity Channel, through CEO Stephen Nill, has opened a new listserv, VRM-ROUNDTABLE, "primarily intended for our colleagues in the US, since the focus of discussion will be on creating a new US organization that will focus on serving its US volunteer resource manager membership."  See the full message from Stephen -- and instructions for subscribing -- on the response page.
  • Some people, on the other hand, are working to keep an international focus to any new association.  No specific site or contact information is yet available (if you know of such, please post it), though a name is being circulated by Nan Hawthorne:  IAVRA (International Association of Volunteer Resources Administration).
  • Some of the stronger state associations and local professional networks are apparently discussing ways to band together to see if a new national association might hit the ground running by starting from their collective efforts.  Many of us would love to learn more about this effort and, again, I invite anyone involved to let others know about what you are doing -- and possibly identify other official association representatives to join you -- by posting contact information here (and CyberVPM, VMforum, VRM-ROUNDTABLE, and anywhere else).

It may seem counterproductive to see so many forums emerge right now, but personally I'd rather see more public discussion than less, and eventually the different strands of talk and action will come together.  Maybe later rather than sooner, but it has to be an organic process.   Because it is unclear who (or how many people) are keeping lists of names of colleagues interested in helping a new association, the best advice may be: 1) tell as many sites as possible that you want to be kept in the loop, and 2) hope that when something begins, people are willing to share their lists as no one "owns" these.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted such good thoughts here so far.  Together we will find a way.