AL!VE Communities of Practice

A Community of Practice is a group of volunteer engagement professionals that meets virtually to share issues, strategies and best practices, get and receive colleagues' support, make connections, and provide an opportunity to share information, experiences, and resources specific to the industry/structure or community they serve.

Meetings are held at least quarterly (check our calendar or newsletter for dates) and will last no more than one hour. Discussion topics will vary depending on issues affecting COP members in their programs.    

Each COP has a Facilitator who works with AL!VE to determine the needs of the COP, and AL!VE members can suggest meeting topics for future COPs through their facilitator.

Communities of Practice are an AL!VE member benefit; however, anyone is welcome to attend their first meeting with out being a member. After your first meeting, we request you join as a member to attend subsequent meetings.

Benefits of joining an AL!VE COP:
  • Networking and relationships with fellow AL!VE  members.
  • AL!VE will become a mechanism for YOU and YOUR COP members to participate in conversations relevant to the field and continue to enhance leadership skills. Communities of Practice are an AL!VE member benefit; however, anyone is welcome to attend their first meeting with out being a member. After your first meeting, you must join as a member to attend subsequent meetings. Learn more about becoming a member here.
  • Easy access to contact information of other members in the COP.
  • A chance to connect, share best practices and challenges with peers. 

Active Communities of Practice

Animal Welfare
The COP - Animal Welfare is designed to include a broad range of animal welfare organizations such as animal shelters, rescue groups, foster-based programs, sanctuaries, direct care for animals, and humane education programs. The objective of this COP is to connect volunteer engagement professionals within these organizations to share resources and best practices. This informal venue encourages open discussions for anyone seeking or offering advice in tackling the unique challenges facing volunteer leaders in the animal welfare field.

Meetings are held bimonthly (every 2 months)   

2023 dates: Feb 22, April 26, June 28, Aug 23, Oct 25, Dec 27

Boards & Advisory Groups
This COP group is a chance to network, share expertise, ask questions, and solve problems with your peers for those who work with volunteers in this capacity. 

2023 dates: Feb 8, Apr 6, Jun 7, Aug 2, Oct 4, Dec 6

New Book club: Transforming Disruption to Impact

This book club COP will be for all members of AL!VE, first diving into the book that everyone is talking about, Transforming Disruption to Impact: Rethinking Volunteer Engagement for a Rapidly Changing World. To launch, May and June sessions will cover the book in its entirety briefly following the Facilitation Guide brought to you by the editors of the book. For future sessions, book choices will be voted on by the entire group and cover a variety of topics ranging from leadership initiatives, empowerment tools and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in addition to other topics upon submission.

2023 Dates: May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 25 (November & December off for the holidays)

CVA Study Group 
Registration for the Spring 2023 Study Group is closed. Fall 2023 will open in July 2023, watch this page or the member newsletter for more details.
It will be led by facilitators who have earned their CVA certification. On January 18th we will review the study resources and an overview of chapters one and two of the textbook. We will meet every Wednesday at 12:00pm ET for eight weeks from February 1st – March 22nd. The study schedule is based on reading 1-2 chapters of the CVA textbook, discussing those chapters and reviewing sample scenarios during the calls. Interested in the study group, complete this registration link by January 16.
To receive information about the AL!VE study group, watch for updates here and the member newsletter for the  introduction session.  

We will contact you with the zoom login information.  If you are not yet an AL!VE member, you are welcome to attend the first session, but we request you join as an AL!VE member to attend further sessions. (Your $75 AL!VE membership will also give you a $50 discount to sit for the CCVA Exam!)
If you're interested in learning more about the Certification in Volunteer Administration in general, visit the CCVA website for information sessions about the exam and application and upcoming information sessions from CCVA.   The study group for Fall 2023 will open in mid summer.

Emergency Response Volunteer Programs
Join in the conversation about volunteers programs that manages volunteers who respond during an emergency. This is a very broad range from citizen corps, Red Cross, government, state, federal and non-profit. Share success and struggles during blue skies, gray skies and black skies. How to keep your volunteers engaged year around when things are (enter Q word here). Between meetings, share burning questions or share resources on the Emergency Response Volunteer Programs message board here (Must be signed in to Member Log In). This is where we can share best practices, ask questions, brag, vent and connect. 

2023 dates:  March 1, June 7, September 6, November 1

New!  Faith Based Volunteer Programs

Join in the conversation around faith-based volunteering and engagement! Whether your organization engages faith-based groups or your organization is faith-based, this is an opportunity to network, share experiences, ask questions, and brainstorm with peers working in the faith space. Discussion topics will be sourced from the group to ensure these conversations are helpful and applicable to your work.

2023 Dates:  May 11, Aug 10 & Nov 9, 2 PM Eastern

Food Banks 
This is involved in managing volunteers at food banks, food pantries, hunger relief, nutrition or food-focused community organizations. These organizations use volunteers in unique and creative ways, especially during times of crisis like the pandemic. Join your hunger relief colleagues virtually to discuss your challenges, successes, and to share ideas.   

2023 dates *New dates added* : Feb 7, Mar 7, Apr 4,  May 2, June 6, July 11, Aug 1, Sep 5, Oct 3, Nov 7, Dec 5

New! Volunteer Programs in Local Government

Let's talk about Government volunteer programs.  This community of practice discusses the challenge and successes of operating a volunteer program within a government structure.

2023 dates:  Feb 10, May 19, Aug 11

Health Care
The past few months have especially created some challenging situations. Let’s support each other! Health care (hospitals, blood banks, health care facilities, long-term health care, and other related organizations) has some unique situations, requirements, and environments for volunteers! Join your colleagues in discussion about your questions, situations, needs, and share your experiences with others as well.  

2023 dates: Jan 12, Mar 9, May 11, Jul 13, Sept 14, Nov 9

Literacy Community of Practice is a group of professionals with the interest of improving literacy levels for youth and adults. We convene bimonthly to offer support, share best practices, provide a safe space for discussion, and networking.  

For more information contact Brandy Tolbert,  or Wendy McClure, Facilitators.
2023: Feb 21, Apr 18, June 20, Aug 15, Oct 10, Dec 19

Local Associations of Volunteer Engagement Professionals
Quarterly COP Meetings are held virtually on a variety of topics pertaining to administration of a local association of volunteer engagement professionals (Dovias, AVA, etc).  Past topics have included Board Recruitment and DEAI, Financial Management, Membership and Marketing, Social Media, and Revitalizing your Organization. Check our calendar for future discussion topics.  Meeting notes, resources, and handouts are posted in the 'file archive' section of our website. All involved in leadership with a local association in the US are welcome!

June 28 Topic: Marketing and Outreach

2023 Dates:  March 29, June 28, Sept 27, November 2 (Summit)

This is for those managing volunteers in museums, galleries and arts centers.  Join us as we discuss and share insights and experiences that we are all having in the arts education/enrichment communities. COVID has posed certain challenges and changes for us all so let’s rely on each other for ideas and inspiration! This is a time for networking, sharing ideas, asking questions, and brainstorming with your peers. 

2023 dates: January 26, March 23, May 18, July 20

National Networks
Those working at a national level face different issues than those operating on a local or regional level. Often national level leaders are engaged in big picture, strategic or policy decision-making. Sometimes those operating at a national level don’t work directly with volunteers, but rather help empower others in their organizations who do. Join the discussion to connect and learn from others working nationally. We invite anyone looking to brainstorm around the unique issues facing volunteer leaders on a national level.  

2023 dates: February 27, April 24, June 26, August 28, October 23

Parks & Recreation
This COP is designed to include a broad range of topics regarding urban and rural parks, botanical gardens, parks, and nature preserves. The objective of this COP is to connect volunteer engagement professionals within these organizations to share resources and best practices. This informal venue encourages open discussions for anyone seeking or offering advice in tackling the unique challenges facing volunteer engagement professionals in the Parks & Rec field. Bring your lunch/brunch and beverage! If you're not sure if you fit with us, please join us! This COP is facilitated by Meagan Patterson, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Volunteer Manager, Yvonne Dunphe, Five Rivers Metroparks, Volunteer Coordinator, and Susan Czaplicki, Richfield Heritage Preserve, Volunteer Coordinator.  

2023 Dates: January 19, March 16, May 18, July 20, September 21, November 16

New! AmeriCorps Seniors

This COP is for those managing an AmeriCorps Seniors program(s) as a grantee or sponsor. This includes Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), and SCP (Senior Companion Program. Join us as we are a sounding board for sharing best practices and resources that are unique to federal grants and the older volunteers we work alongside.
All times 3 PM Eastern for 1 hour.

2023 dates:  Feb 27, Mar 27, Apr 24, Jun 26, Jul 24, Aug 28, Sep 25, Oct 23, Nov 27

Rural Communities

This virtual Community of Practice supports volunteer engagement professionals managing programs in and across rural communities. These monthly peer-to-peer sessions address some of the challenges that come with operating in geographic areas with lower population numbers and that are located outside of more suburban and urban areas. Members use these sessions to troubleshoot issues, to give and receive support, and to share strategies, best practices, and resources for effective volunteer program management.

2023 dates: January 17, February 21, March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 19, August 15, September 19, October 17, November 21, December 19

Transportation Programs
The Transportation COP is comprised of volunteer engagement professionals who manage programs with transportation as a volunteer role. Transport may include people, product or animals.  Join us as we discuss best practices, share resources, and brainstorm solutions to your volunteer driver challenges. Recruiting, Onboarding, Training, Recognition and Risk Management are just some of the topics we have and are continuing to discuss.  

2023 dates: January 4, April 5, July 5, October 4

To attend a Community of Practice (COP),