AL!VE Communities of Practice

Join an AL!VE Community of Practice  (COP)
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.

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. 

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. Learn more about becoming a member here.

Active Communities of Practice (please pre-register on our calendar): 
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)  If you have any questions, please contact COP Facilitators Anne Marie McPartlin or Adrienne Potter-Yoe.

2022 dates: February 23, April 27, Jun 29, August 31, October 26, December 28

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. 

2022 dates: February 9, April 6, June 8, August 3, October 5, December 7

Book Club
2022 Book Club COP begins May 9, 2022 and runs for seven weeks. The discussion will be facilitated by Darlene Laird, CVA, AL!VE Board Member and Skilled Volunteer Strategy and Engagement Manager for Habitat for Humanity International.

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath & Dan Heath is a book discussion COP and is open to all AL!VE   members who value the opportunity to continuously learn and develop their knowledge around volunteer management topics.  The book “explores why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us – and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work.”  We will reflect upon ways we can use the use the elements of defining moments to create meaningful volunteer experiences and with an eye toward our rapidly changing and more tech-dependent world.

The schedule is based on reading chapters of the book and discussing those chapters for one hour according to the bi-weekly meeting schedule below. 

Discussions take place at 1pm EST and are May 9, May 23, Jun 6, June 20, July 11, July 25, August 8.  Registrations close May 9.

Capacity Building
Who helps the helpers?  Capacity builders do! Capacity building is whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, so it may more effectively and efficiently advance its mission into the future.  Do you work with volunteers that help other nonprofits in this way?  Join this Community of Practice as we talk about our roles in supporting volunteers help build capacity for other nonprofits.  United Ways, Volunteer Centers, incubators, and consulting oriented nonprofits are welcome to attend!

2022 dates: January 7,  March 4

CVA Study Group 
Spring 2022 study group is now open! The study group is a member benefit from AL!VE open to all members preparing for the Spring 2022 exam and will be led by facilitators who have earned their CVA certification. The study schedule is based on reading two chapters of the CVA textbook, discussing those chapters and reviewing sample test questions during the meetings.  

Spring 2022 Schedule: 
All sessions are 12pm to 1pm EST.
January 12 - Introduction to CVA Study Group Resources (required to join the CVA Study Group). Fill out the interest form here.
February 2, February 9, February 16, February 23, March 2, March 9, March 16, March 23

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.   

Early Childhood Education
Being a volunteer manager for Early Childhood Education is great- who doesn’t want to rock babies?  Being in a category with young children and government regulations there are certain unique challenges for volunteers, such as Level 2 background Checks, In-kind donations, many trainings, and long placement times.  This COP group will be a chance to network, share expertise, ask questions, and solve problems with your peers. 

2022 dates:  January 17, May 16, July 18

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. 

2022 date:  January 27, April 28, July 28, October 27

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.  To learn more, email our facilitator, Christina Basey.

2022 dates: January 4, February 1, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 5, August 2, September 6, October 4, November 1, December 6
In Transition & Leveling Up
For those who may be in between employment or looking for their next career move, this COP was created to aid our members in preparing for their next move, whether moving into another organization through the job recruitment process or looking for a promotion.  This is a participant-driven COP where there are opportunities to learn from HR professionals as well as seek feedback from others on resumes, interviewing skills, self-promotion pitches, etc.  For questions about the In Transition & Leveling Up COP, contact facilitator Megan Vixie

2022 dates: TBA

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. For questions about the Health Care COP, contact Facilitator Angela Williamson

2022 dates: January 13, March 10, May 12, July 14, September 8, November 10

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. 

2022 dates: March 24, May 19, August 18, October 27, 
2023 dates: January 26

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.  

2022 dates: February 28, April 25, June 27, Aug 22, Oct 24

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.  

2022 dates: January 20, March 17, May 19, July 21, September 15

Rural Communities
Community of Practice for volunteer engagement professionals in rural communities. Volunteer Engagement Professionals in small towns face unique challenges and opportunities that aren’t always addressed by advice intended for city-based audiences. There are also fewer opportunities to connect with others doing similar work across the country. For any questions about the Rural COP, please contact, COP facilitator Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss

2022 dates: January 18, February 15, March 15, April 19, May 17, June 21,  July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, December 20

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. Please contact Cathy Thoma, COP facilitator

2022 dates: January 5, March 2, May 4, July 6

Coming in 2022:
  • Higher Education
To attend a Community of Practice (COP), please pre-register on our calendar