AVA Universal Declaration On Leading And Managing Volunteers

Developed by the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA), Toronto October 2001
In support of IYV 2001 AVA convened an International Working Group on the Profession in conjunction with the 2001 International Conference on Volunteer Administration held in Toronto, October 3-6. The Working Group was conceived as a forum for global discussion about volunteer resources management and its future direction, with the following goals:

Representatives from 12 countries, AVA and IAVE worked together for two days to produce the Declaration, which was subsequently adopted by the AVA board of directors and distributed to all conference attendees. Specific strategies for how and where to utilize the document are still evolving, but the possibilities are endless! AVA encourages you to use this document to raise awareness about and celebrate your role as a leader. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

AVA has been tremendously enriched by the perspectives of the International Working Group on the Profession, and that process will continue. The group will be expanded during the coming months to include representatives from additional countries which could not participate in Toronto, but who share the core beliefs and tenets expressed in the Declaration.

Universal Declaration on the Profession of Leading and Managing Volunteers

As the international professional association for volunteer leadership, the Association for Volunteer Administration envisions a world in which the lives of individuals and communities are improved by the positive impact of volunteer action.

This vision can best be achieved when there are people who make it their primary responsibility to provide leadership in the management of volunteer resources, whether in the community or within organizations.

These "leaders of volunteer resources" *optimize the impact of individual and collective volunteer action to enhance the common good and enable humanitarian benefit. These leaders are most effective when they have the respect and support of their communities and/or their organizations, appropriate resources and the opportunity to continually develop their knowledge and skills.

With the growth of volunteering worldwide there is a recognition that the time and contribution of volunteers must be respected, and that their work must benefit both volunteers and the causes and organizations they serve.

Thus, we affirm and support the Universal Declaration on Volunteering adopted by IAVE The International Association for Volunteer Effort which states "Volunteering is a fundamental building block of civil society. It brings to life the noblest aspirations of humankind the pursuit of peace, freedom, opportunity, safety and justice for all people.... At the dawn of the new millennium, volunteering is an essential element of all societies." (The complete text is available at www.iave.org)

As volunteering has expanded globally, the need has emerged for strong leadership and management of volunteers. Increasingly, this is recognized as a professional role.

*This phrase applies equally to terms like administrators, managers, coordinators and directors of volunteers. For this declaration, the term "Director of Volunteers" was selected to represent these many terms.

Value and Contribution of Directors of Volunteers

Directors of Volunteers promote change, solve problems, and meet human needs by mobilizing and managing volunteers for the greatest possible impact.

Directors of Volunteers aspire to:


Directors of Volunteers mobilize and support volunteers to engage in effective action that addresses specified needs.

As Directors of Volunteers we strive to:

Core Beliefs

As Directors of Volunteers, we hold these beliefs and seek to demonstrate them in our actions:

We also believe that we share the responsibility to:

The complexity of the problems the world faces reaffirms the power of volunteering as a way to mobilize people to address those challenges.

In order for volunteering to have the greatest impact and to be as inclusive as possible, it must be well planned, adequately resourced and effectively managed. This is the responsibility of Directors of Volunteers.

They are most effective when their work is recognized and supported. Therefore, we call on leaders in:

We call upon Directors of Volunteers worldwide to accept this Declaration, to integrate and embody it in our shared work, and to promote and encourage its adoption.

While we recognize that all countries in the world do not approach volunteer development in the same way, this Declaration is intended to encourage all those concerned with the advancement of this profession, to aspire to these statements.

Developed by the International Working Group on the Profession, Convened by the Association for Volunteer Administration Toronto, Ontario Canada 2001, with representation from: Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, England, Hungary, Israel, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland, United States.

Association for Volunteer Administration
P.O. Box 32092
Richmond, VA 23294 USA
Phone: 804-346-2266; Fax: 804-346-3318; E-mail: avaintl@mindspring.com
Web: http://www.avaintl.org

For more information:


en AVA Declaration
T. Gardner-Williams