December 2007 Update

Dear COVAA Delegates and Friends,

This month we mark the one year anniversary of the historical event that occurred last December in Denver. The Congress was a first-ever convening of official representatives of existing associations of volunteer program managers throughout the United States. Through these delegates, over 6,000 leaders of volunteers were represented. Since our last update, we are pleased to announce that there has been significant progress on our mandate to create a new national membership association. This communication contains proposed language for a new name, mission statement and other information related to the status of this project.

Based on an idea that came forward during our Town Hall meeting at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Philadelphia, the COVAA Steering Committee proposes that the name of our new organization be called "ALIVE."This stands for the "Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement."Currently, the Steering Committee is seeking both delegate and outside stakeholder input regarding this recommendation. Once this input is received and if there is concurrence, we will secure a web domain and move historical content from to the new domain.

After much discussion, we also propose the following mission statement:

ALIVE (Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement) serves to enhance and sustain the spirit of volunteerism in America by fostering collaboration and networking, promoting professional development, and providing advocacy for leaders in community engagement.

We will be publishing a survey soon that will request your input on the proposed name and mission statement.

As promised in Denver, we intend to finalize our work to incorporate ALIVE (proposed name). Towards that end we are finishing a transition process to be implemented in early 2008. Projects have already been underway for several months and the associated recommendations will be published after the holidays. These will include draft versions of our bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and business plan. After much research, we are pleased to announce that we intend to recommend incorporation in the state of Indiana.

The Steering Committee continues to meet on a weekly basis and has discussed topics that have strategic implications such as:

  • Structure/Organizational
  • Model Incorporation
  • Issues Governance/Committee Structure
  • Membership: Categories, Criteria, Benefits
  • Resource Development
  • Collaborative Partners

All of these discussions have served to help inform the business planning process which is the current focus of the Steering Committee. Final recommendations in each area will be passed to the new Board of Directors, when elected.

The Steering Committee appreciates all of the enthusiasm and support we've received. There has been much input and great dialogue about everything from potential funding sources to collaboration with AVRM (Association of Volunteer Resources Management) and other potential partners. Recent opportunities include:

  • Several Steering Committee members met the leaders of AVRM at their conference in Dallas. We hope this conversation will continue between the future Boards of the two organizations. The Steering Committee is committed to avoiding unnecessary duplication of existing resources. From our perspective, we believe our process for developing our new entity has been approached from a different angle.
  • At the invitation of IJOVA (The International Journal of Volunteer Administration), COVAA submitted an article for inclusion in the October 2007 issue.
  • A presentation was given to NOVN ( the National Organizations' Volunteerism Network), a peer learning community of volunteerism / Volunteer Resource Management professionals who work at the national level, for headquarters / national offices of organizations from AARP to Volunteers of America. This was an opportunity to receive additional feedback regarding COVAA's work. We were pleased with their supportive response!

COVAA's development process has and continues to incorporate representatives of the profession that will ultimately be served. In addition, COVAA is looking outside of the usual sphere of volunteer management to obtain input from other people or organizations with a broader perspective. COVAA is especially interested in the input of potential partners to ensure an approach that is relevant. As a result, the new organization that is born will be positive and sustainable.

COVAA is looking to help provide uniformity in the field as a convener and collaborator. In addition, there is recognition of the increasing number of volunteers who are engaged in less formal, grassroots, community engagement activities. The leaders of these volunteers may not see themselves as "professional volunteer managers", yet they would appreciate and benefit from the support of a network like COVAA. We are exploring how to broaden our reach to all leaders in community engagement (paid or unpaid). COVAA is committed to revolutionizing the field of volunteer management and taking advantage of this juncture in the field to create an organization that will meet the current needs and the future needs of leaders of volunteers.

The Steering Committee and all of the members of the different sub-committees continue to be excited about the possibilities that COVAA offers. Ultimately, COVAA's vision is to inspire and empower leaders of volunteers to be an effective catalyst for social betterment and change, and that these leaders of volunteers are viewed as essential catalysts for invigorating community engagement. We hope you share this vision with us!

If you have any questions please continue to email them to It's been our pleasure to serve!


Joanna Johnson and Rita Chick

COVAA Steering Committee Co-Chairs