DOVIA New Orleans

Directors of Volunteers in Alliance


Welcome to our news blog! We will post quick updates here. If you click on the RSS feed, when we update or post something - you will receive a notice in your email.

If you are a member of DOVIA, you can post information to the blog.

Help us name the blog - what should we call it?

  • October 03, 2014 11:39 AM | Anonymous


    One month to go until the 2014 International Volunteer Managers Day celebration. Mark your calendar for November 5th and raise a toast to all you do, every day, to engage and coordinate volunteers! Send notes of appreciation to your colleagues. Get your local professional network of volunteer resources to announce the day to the public.

    The IVMDay Committee has announced that the 2014 theme:

     "Volunteer Managers - Visionaries For Volunteering"

    There are lots of resources on the IVMDay site to use, free of charge, including posters and banners.  Be sure to report your local activities to the site to share with everyone.

  • September 30, 2014 4:55 PM | Anonymous

    High Voltage to Offer Girls Circle
    Girls Circle is a research-based support group offered through the One Circle Foundation. It provides weekly programs to promote courage, confidence, and communication skills in girls ages 9-18.

    Interested in hosting a Girls Circle program or The Council For Boys and Young Men through your organization? Email us for additional information on training and join their mailing list!

  • September 30, 2014 4:53 PM | Anonymous

    Hi Everyone,

    The ReFresh Community Farm is hosting its first volunteer garden build day this Saturday at 10am.

    If you’re not already familiar with this amazing project, it is going to be a teaching/training garden where people can come learn growing skills.  It is one of the ReFresh Site partners on Broad, which is also home to

    Liberty’s Kitchen, Whole Foods, the Goldring Culinary Center, Broad Community Connections and Boys Town .

    The ReFresh Community Farm recently won a $149,000 grant from Garnier/TerraCycle in sustainable supplies.  If you are interested in helping build out this garden, please RSVP to Emily Mickley-Doyle by this Friday at noon at


    ReFresh Community Farm

    300 N. Broad Street (corner of Bienville)


    Saturday, October 4

    10am – until


    SPROUT NOLA, founders of ReFresh Community Farm

    Parkway Partners volunteers

    And other fine folks!

    Susannah Burley, Program Director

    Parkway Partners

    1137 Baronne Street

    New Orleans, LA 70113

    o 504.620.2224, x 400

    f 504.620.2225

    Deeply rooted in

    New Orleans since 1982.

  • September 04, 2014 12:35 PM | Anonymous



    Corporate social responsibility intersects with volunteering when a for-profit company encourages its employees to volunteer in the community, whether on company time or on the employees' personal time - and whether in a pro bono capacity sharing the skills with which they earn a living or pursuing outside interests. And business people are fantastic resources. But sometimes, as former head of General Electric's employee volunteer program, David Warshaw, says, "Businesses are from Mars; Nonprofits are from Venus."


    There are indeed many things that are different in world view and operating practices between businesses and both nonprofits and government agencies. Being aware of these differences can help you to orient volunteers from the business sector more effectively and, in turn, help them to maneuver in their new volunteer environment. Also, it's vital to consider what attitudes might be held by the company as an entity, separate from those of individual company employees.


    Here are some examples:

    Decision-Making Process

    In for-profits: Within a pre-set budget, the authority to make decisions is decentralized and often rapid.


    In nonprofits/gov't: Often, plans made on the frontline must be submitted for board approval or legislative review. Rare to have fast action.


    Method of Project Funding

    In for-profits: Once a decision is made, cash is allocated and available to carry it out.

     In nonprofits/gov't:
    Unless already in the budget, a new project may need special fundraising or grant-writing, which can take a lot of time (and may not get approved).


    Non-cash Resources

    In for-profits: Companies may draw on assets that it pays for:

    • Employees as volunteers
    • Employees for in-kind services (printing, designing, etc.)
    • Meeting space
    • Equipment, including transport 

    In nonprofits/gov't: Nonprofits have fewer cash-based assets, but offer other benefits:

    • Employees and volunteers
    • Community contacts and sphere of influence
    • Location (possibly)

    Possible Concerns

    In for-profits:

    • Remaining profitable is the business' primary focus rather than the nonprofit cause/mission
    • Businesses may question the capacity of the nonprofit to contribute to the project 
    • Businesses may worry about loss of control
    • What is the amount of cash ultimately needed?
    • Could unexpected business climate changes arise affecting the ability to continue with the volunteer project?

    In nonprofits/gov't:

    • The cause/mission is the agency's primary focus, but not for the business
    • Will the business commitment last through a slow process?
    • Nonprofits may worry about loss of control
    • Will there be equity of labor, or will the company assume it pays the bill and the nonprofit does the work?

    Image Issues

    In for-profits:

    • Who might dislike the company's involvement with the specific cause or agency?
    • Will the company gain a "halo effect" for good works or be suspected for self-serving motives?

    In nonprofits/gov't:

    • Who might dislike the corporate involvement?
    • Might some see the agency as "selling out"?


    You can see that it's a mistake to assume that someone from the "other side" approaches projects in the same way. Learn and appreciate the differences while you find your commonalities. Your agency, the business, and the volunteers in the middle will all benefit.

    This Quick Tip comes from
    Susan J. Ellis, President of Energize, Inc. 


    Want more of
    Susan's Wisdom? 

    Read her books. You'll find them in the Energize bookstore.


  • August 25, 2014 8:18 AM | Anonymous

    Calling All Storymakers! Learn. Create. Win!

    Calling All Storymakers! Learn. Create. Win!

    Nonprofits overcome obstacles every single day. The most effective way to inspire donations, volunteering, and support is to share those stories of triumph. Our Storymakers challenge hopes to empower you with the tools and training to tell your stories, get noticed, and make an impact.

    Storymakers starts with free webinars and events to help you create, polish, and share your inspiring stories. It culminates in a challenge:  

    • Aug. 26 – Sept. 26 submit your digital story. A two-minute video, a short-form Vine or Instagram video, or a five-picture Flickr slideshow could land you up to $5,000.

  • August 11, 2014 5:44 PM | Anonymous

    Nonprofit 911: Crisis Communications for Your Nonprofit

    Tuesday, August 12th 2014 at 1pm EDT  

    No one ever thinks a crisis communications strategy is necessary until one is needed. If crisis ever hits your issue area or worse, your own organization, be prepared with a solid communications plan that will leave stakeholders with a favorable impression of your nonprofit!

    Register Now >>

  • August 05, 2014 8:51 AM | Anonymous

    Photo of Susan

    Identifying Who Is and Is Not a “Volunteer”

    By Susan J. Ellis

    Last week I received an e-mail from colleague Kristi Ondo, a hospital director of volunteer services. She wrote:

    I'd like to run a current frustration by you, hoping you can help me focus my arguments. I am part of a committee of volunteer resources managers who have been asked to develop “benchmarking” guides, especially in defining categories of volunteers such as “junior volunteers.”  Some have been trying to include a "financially compensated" category. I am adamant that to be a volunteer you cannot be paid...therefore we should not include anyone receiving money – and perhaps the IRS would frown upon it should the organization be audited. Some of my colleagues are still trying to convince their executives of their expertise in the field and are looking for external validation of what they think volunteer services should include. What do you think?

    aug hot topicI suspect that every reader has engaged in this sort of discussion/debate/argument more than once. I’ve sure lost count! But it surprised me to see that I have never devoted a Hot Topic to the theme of “who’s a volunteer?” – although I’ve written about it in several books and articles. So, I am sharing and expanding my response to Kristi with all of you.

    The fundamental flaw in this age-old debate is that we seek clear, definitive answers, when there are far too many nuances for that. I’ve listed just a few questions below to prove it:

    • What does the term “financially compensated” mean? Is it an actual salary (going on payroll)?1 A stipend (its own kettle of fish)? The living allowance paid to AmeriCorps members?
      • What about getting reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses or discounts for meals and store purchases? 
      • Where do paid internships fit into the picture?2
      • Is the amount paid a fixed, pre-determined sum or does it vary with the level of activity and the skills of the person doing it? 
    • Do you consider a businessperson as “financially compensated” if s/he is volunteering for you during the business day and still receives normal pay from the employing company (“work release time”)?
      • What about people in external job training programs who get paid by those programs for their time with you?
      • Or do you only mean “financially compensated by the institution receiving the services”?
      • What about the volunteers who serve on the board of directors, often on their employers’ dime? (And does anyone connect the expertise of the volunteer resources manager to the challenges of keeping volunteer board members engaged?)
    • What about mandated service? Rarely is money paid to someone “doing time” by order of the court. So is the person a “volunteer”? Is there a distinction between a court-ordered volunteer and a young person required to do a certain number of hours of service in order to graduate?
    • Are you also debating whether academic credit is “compensation” to a student volunteer?  Does it matter if the service earns full course credit, partial course credit, or just contributes to a research paper?
      • Does earning any type of college credit make that student different from a young person who volunteers independent of the classroom or a teenager fulfilling required high school service hours?
      • What if the student volunteer hopes to put the experience on a resume in order to get a job later?
      • Are all students – earning any type of credit or not – coordinated by the volunteer office?  Why not? 
    • In terms of the responsibilities of volunteer management, don’t the people in all of these categories share the same needs to be interviewed and screened, put into short-term work that uses their skills well, oriented to the organization, supervised/coordinated, and be recognized for their help? Isn’t that what we do?3
    • Here’s another by-the-way: Why the need to segregate “junior volunteers”?  There are some brilliant and talented 16-year-olds who can do all sorts of advanced work – why shouldn’t they be allowed into roles adults fill (are they the “real” volunteers)? And why couldn’t an older person with a developmental disability be able to fill a role you thought was meant for a teenager?  (Do not confuse the need for policies in working with volunteers under the age of 18 with the issue of the definition of a volunteer.)
    • Finally, who decides whether the word volunteer should be applied? Is it the person donating time (the “volunteer”) or the recipient of the service (the organization, or even the client)? Is it based on money, degree of choice, or something else? Whose perspective counts more?

    All of the questions above are rhetorical and my posing them should not be misinterpreted as a position! But I do think the complexities show the limits of the word “volunteer,”  as I explain in the 2010 Hot Topic,  The Word "Volunteer" Can Reveal, Conceal, or Confuse

    In addition, people can move from one situation to another. What happens if some of the people required to give you time, such as court-ordered workers or students earning academic credit, like the work so much that they give you more time at each shift than required? Or then continue serving way after the minimum hours are fulfilled?  Do they somehow transmute into “pure” volunteers the moment the last second expires? Maybe it is more important why people continue their commitment, than what brought them to us in the first place.

    Explaining Volunteer Complexity: It’s Not Easy

    We tend to think of an organization’s workers as paid or unpaid, employees or volunteers. But we pay full-time employees, part-time employees, seasonal workers, temp workers, and consultants in different ways.  Perhaps this is important at budget time or in reporting to the IRS, but in daily practice, the human resources or personnel department fills positions to get work done.

    So does the volunteer resources office. Only our work force is much more complex and the mistake is to treat “volunteers” as a single cohort or as interchangeable parts. For management purposes and evaluation of impact we should be reporting on the work performed by the people we recruit, not on how they came to us or whether some third party is involved.

    Certainly there are times when we should indeed report on the diversity of the corps of volunteers because such data illuminate the range and quality of time donors we have brought into the organization. We can also present information on how different it is to work with students than with pro bono consultants and how both are different from partnering with faith communities. Planning for and coordinating those differences is part of the job of volunteer management – and we always need to educate up about that.

    It’s also necessary to determine policies and provide tools as needed: volunteers under age 18 will need to get parental permission; court-ordered workers will require authorized confirmation of hours onsite; someone in a wheelchair will need physical accommodation; and so on. But what’s important is that they all be helped to accomplish their assigned activities.

    I am also aware that the problem can lie with more traditional volunteers – who do not receive money or credit and who often give many hours over many years – who question why so many different sorts of participants are seen as equivalent to them.  They can even be insulted at being paired with someone ordered to work by the court or resent seeing younger student interns given higher status.  But the answer is to educate current volunteers, not refuse the services of those outside historical boundaries.  I was once seriously asked by a colleague: “Is it all right to say thank you to the work-release inmates from our local prison who helped to build the carnival booths?”  When is it not OK to express appreciation?!

    Recognizing the Real Issue

    Kristi’s debate is not about benchmarks and definitions. Her committee is actually struggling with a fundamental question of vital concern to any leader of volunteers:  What is the purpose of the volunteer resources function in our organizations and does everyone understand it?  Is the purpose limited to bringing in volunteers (under some strict definition) or is it to meet the needs of clients, the community, and the institution by mobilizing human talent that does not have to go on payroll?  In other words, volunteer involvement is all about solutions.  Why can’t a volunteer department be considered the “community mobilization unit” and have authority over a range of different types of service activities? 

    Here’s a way to determine whether or not an offer to contribute time and skills should be accepted by the volunteer involvement office. How would you answer these two questions:

    • Should your organization turn away this source of help?
    • If your office does not welcome and support the work contributed, who else in the organization can or will?

    We can call the people we recruit and coordinate volunteers or Martians or anything else. Restrictive definitions and limiting silos are self-defeating.  Fighting to delineate “volunteers” from other sorts of help only reduces the role we play and misses enormous opportunities for tapping community resources.

    So…what do you think?


    1 The issue of an audit by the IRS is a red herring, in my opinion. If an organization gives monetary compensation of any kind to anyone, that would be done openly and reported in financial reports. It does not matter which department administers those people. It does not matter if they call them “volunteers.” What matters is that amounts are properly recorded and reported – including issuing 1099s to anyone receiving more than $600 a year without deduction of payroll taxes.  But someone in accounting or legal has to understand that the organization should be able to explain why such individuals were not made employees – and the compensated volunteers need to know that, if they receive more than $600, they must report the money as income on their personal income tax return.

    2 See this excellent article published in Blue Avocado for further discussion on volunteer “interns”: Also, last year Rob Jackson and I wrote a Points of View essay for e-Volunteerism, “The Sparking Controversy about Volunteer Internships,” discussing the rise in successful lawsuits around the world by unpaid interns demanding financial compensation.  

    3 For more details on the wide range of people and types of service that fall under the umbrella of volunteering today, see chapter 7 (“Tapping into the Full Spectrum of Community Resources”) of my book, From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement

  • July 25, 2014 12:38 PM | Anonymous

    Hello Members! Did you know that you can view the archived videos after the webinars are held? YES! We post the video links in the members-only section. If you want to watch it over or if you were unable to participate live, you can still view the archived version. We keep them active between 30-60 days, depending on the agreement with the speakers.

    Click to go to the links!

  • July 25, 2014 12:37 PM | Anonymous

    CVA Certification Process

    The "Certified in Volunteer Administration" (CVA) credential is offered for practitioners in volunteer resources management. Originally developed by the international Association for Volunteer Administration, the program is now sponsored by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA).

    Unlike many "certificate" or certification programs being offered by colleges and universities, this professional credentialing program is performance-based. It is not intended to teach individuals how to manage volunteers effectively. Rather, it is designed to measure an individual's "knowledge-in-use"--the application of knowledge and skills by those with real-life experience in this role. This includes the assessment of a candidate's ability to structure tasks, produce ideas, and solve problems. 

    The CVA Program:

    • is voluntary
    • is performance-based
    • is grounded in core competencies and standards
    • developed by colleagues and peers
    • defines volunteer administration as a profession
    • provides a vehicle for updating best practices
    • is open to salaried and non-salaried individuals
    • from all types of organizations

    CCVA adheres to standards established by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) -- the primary body in the United States for quality assurance of credentials.

    Core Competencies

    Individuals pursuing the CVA credential are expected to demonstrate successfully their knowledge and ability to apply skills required for competent volunteer management, based on their actual performance in the role. Five core competencies have been identified that serve as a foundation for this profession, regardless of the setting or type of organization where volunteers are at work.

    As the result of a Job Analysis study conducted in 2008, the five core competencies are:

    • Ethics: The ability to act in accordance with professional principles.
    • Organizational Management: The ability to design and implement policies, processes and structures to align volunteer involvement with the mission and vision of the organization.
    • Human Resource Management: The ability to successfully engage, train and support volunteers in a systematic and intentional way.
    • Accountability: The ability to collect relevant data and to engage in meaningful monitoring, evaluation and reporting to stakeholders.
    • Leadership and Advocacy: The ability to advance individual, organizational and community goals through effective volunteer involvement.

    The Credentialing Process

    A two-part measurement methodology has been designed to demonstrate a candidate's knowledge and application of the core competencies.  This is a self-study process, requiring no travel or special classes.

    Part I: Portfolio

    Philosophy Statement: 100-250 words (personal reflection on beliefs and values related to your role as a leader and manager of volunteers)

    Ethics Case Study:  100-250 words (description of a work-related situation involving ethics, and how it relates to the profession's core values)

    Management Narrative: 1,500-1750 words (description and analysis of a project or activities focused on the core competencies)

    All three pieces are written based on the candidate's experience within the field (i.e. observations, actions, insights, lessons learned) rather than on presenting information from textbooks or classes. All must be submitted at the same time and are then subject to a peer review process.

    Part II: Multiple Choice Examination

    The test consists of multiple choice questions based on a Content Outline.  It is a two-hour proctored examination, offered once a year on the 4th Wednesday in May.  Candidates take the exam via the internet, using a computer of their choice in their own community.

    Once registered, CVA candidates may start the process with either the portfolio or the examination. However, they are required to sit for the exam in May.  Both the portfolio and the exam must be completed by December 31.


    Individuals wishing to become credentialed must meet these requirements in order to register as a candidate:

    • Minimum of the equivalent of three years of full-time experience related to volunteer resources management. This experience can be a combination of several part-time positions, and can include both salaried and non-salaried roles.
    • Minimum of 30 percent of current position related to volunteer resources management.
    • Two letters of professional recommendation from supervisors or colleagues, verifying the candidate's activity in the field and his/her appropriateness as a candidate for this credential.

    Fees:  2015  

    • Early Bird       Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2014       $ 275 US 
    • Standard       Jan. 1 - March 1, 2015       $ 350 US


    Special Discounted Rates for members of ALIVE,

    Points of Light/HandsOn Network, VolunteerMatch, Volunteer Canada, and Habitat for Humanity International:

    • Early Bird        Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2014          $ 250 US 
    • Standard        Jan. 1 - March 1, 2015          $ 315 US


    The primary reference for the CVA exam is Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice.   A list of secondary references is also provided.

    Candidates are given a self-assessment tool to help them identify topics on which to focus their study.

    CCVA accepts electronic credit card payments, using the secure PayPal system.  (It is not necessary to have a personal PayPal account in order to use this option.) Candidates wishing to pay by credit card will still need to submit their registration forms in hard copy by mailing them to the CCVA office.


    Registration for the 2014 cycle is now closed.

    Registration for the 2015 cycle will open on October 1, 2014.

  • July 22, 2014 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    Your Chance to Influence This Profession!

    CCVA is conducting a job analysis survey to update our understanding of this role.  We would like YOUR help in updating the skills, knowledge and competencies that practitioners in our field possess.  Please join your colleagues around the globe as we evolve together as a community and as a profession.

    Do you…

    • …have at least 3 years of experience leading and managing volunteers?
    • …know what it takes to do this work well?
    • …want to be sure all types of organizations are represented?
    • …want to ensure your country’s point of view is expressed?
    • …welcome the opportunity to influence the certification and education for this profession?

    If so, then please take 25 minutes to complete our survey;

    All individual responses will be kept confidential.   

    Also, feel free to forward this message and share this link with your peers who have at least 3 years of experience.

    Thank you in advance for your participation,

    Katie Campbell, CVA

    Executive Director

    Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA)

    Tobi Johnson, CVA

    Chair, Job Analysis Task Force

    CCVA is the sponsor of the international certification for leaders and managers of volunteers.  For more details, please visit

DOVIA New Orleans, C/O Team Dynamics LLC, 2444 Rue Weller, Mandeville, LA 70448

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software