What does a successful and relevant Volunteer Center look like? In a time when many question the viable future of Volunteer Centers, what common traits and best practices do thriving Volunteer Centers share?
In this edition of Along the Web, authors Arnie Wickens and Erick C. Lear attempt to answer these questions by presenting 30 examples of Volunteer Centers and related resources that operate quite well throughout the world. In selecting these sites, Wickens and Lear attempt to stay true to the tenets outlined in the October 2013 Points of View column, where Susan J. Ellis and Rob Jackson described what volunteer centers must do to remain relevant:
- Focus more attention on the big picture and support their communities in responding to the 21st century volunteer;
- Offer an umbrella and neutral meeting ground for connecting many different constituents;
- Look for innovative practices and make sure everyone learns about them; and
- Educate funders and legislators about the need for local infrastructure to support volunteering efforts.
“While by no means an exhaustive list,” the authors write, “the Web sites (listed here) are highlighted because they demonstrate successful approaches to presenting their vision and mission. Serving as leaders in vollunteer recruitment, management, outreach, and community problem solving, many Volunteer Centers have been change agents throughout the world. Failure to maintain their services would be a loss to their individual communities and the field of volunteerism as a whole.”