AL!VE Newsletter: December 2019
Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement

Timely resource for our members

If you missed the AL!VE Academy webinar December 4 titled 'Leading With, and For, Compassion' Leah discusses compassion fatigue, burnout, and tools that you can use right now. The presentation was recorded and is available to all members to watch and listen.

To access past AL!VE Academy presentations, log in to the 'members only' side of the website. Go to the 'Resources' folder, then 'File Archive' tab, and click on the list of AL!VE Academy Presentations.


New podcasts!

1. Meridian Swift, the author of the weekly Volunteer Plain Talk blog.
2. Time + Talent podcast from Tobi Johnson and Jennifer Bennett. 

All podcasts can be found on Spotify and Apple podcasts and a few other platforms.​

Meet your AL!VE 2020 Board

Your 2020 AL!VE Board of Directors have been elected!

Executive Committee

Megan Vixie, CVA– President
Michelle Raymer, CVA– President Elect
Sean Devereaux– Treasurer
Mark Smith, CVA - Secretary
Cairn Reisch – VP of Membership
Audrey Kidwell – VP of Marketing

Board Members at Large
Patrick Algyer (new)
Kelli Crawford (new)
Allyson Drinnon
Michelle Epifani (new)
Kayla Paulson
Ashley Ramsdell (new)
Jennifer thompson, CVA

To learn more, visit the Board of Directors page.  Thank you to all the Board Members who  are serving for 2020.

Advocacy Research Intern Wanted!

Advocacy is an important responsibility of every volunteer engagement specialist, and of the association that represents them (That's us, AL!VE!) AL!VE's Programs and Advocacy Committee is working hard to provide support and direction about advocacy to our members and the profession. 
We are looking for an Advocacy Research Intern to work with us starting early 2020 to help us do the much needed research to get our advocacy efforts going. More information here.  Please share this with your contacts in your local universities and organizations and email Emilie Bromet-Bauer, CVA at with the name of the university or organization you contacted.   
In addition to research about advocacy, AL!VE's role includes educating our members and professionals about advocacy and volunteer engagement through quarterly AL!VE Academy webinars. The first advocacy webinar in February will be a general introduction to advocacy and the volunteer engagement professional and we are looking for a co-presenter. If you are interested in working with Emilie on this webinar, please contact her at the email above.


Volunteer Opportunity!

We’re still seeking one more volunteer to help with developing the ALIVE resource page on our website. Learn more about this and other opportunities at:

Welcome New Members!

Kelly Brannen, ALSAC/ St. Jude Children's Research Hospital​

Brett Witcher, Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity​

Alexandra Maggio, Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired​

Tammie Richter, GRAVA (Greater Richmond Association for Volunteer Administration)​

Esteban Ojeda, San Diego Blood Bank

Lee Cauble, CuriOdyssey​

Kelly Grooms, The Whole Person​

Amanda Maron, City of Grand Prairie​

Alexandra Buller, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona​

Kelly Huckaby, Operation Kindness​

Julie Gallanty, New Jersey YMCA State Alliance​

Jenna Dixon, Kentucky Science Center​

Alison Jones-Nassar, GRAVA (Greater Richmond Association for Volunteer Administration)​

Jennifer Fabrizius, Kansas State University Foundation​

Hollis Sweet, CommuniCare Health Centers​

Mike Parker, NorthStarReach​

Matt Hoffman, Frontline Ministries North America​

Marilyn Douglas, Vancouver Coastal Health​

AL!VE Member Welcome Webinars

New to AL!VE or just want to check in?  
Find out what's happening or get a quick fix of networking with your peers! New members will get a brief overview of our mission, benefits, activities and committees.  Existing members can get a refresher, check in and ask questions. We'll share upcoming announcements, activities, calendar events and trainings.

Webinars will be approximately 30 minutes with an additional 30 minutes allocated for networking or discussion.  

Register for an upcoming webinar:
Monday, January 13th (4 pm EST)
Wednesday, February 26th (1 pm EST)


Renewed Members

Christi Brown CAVS, CVA, B.S.
Member Since: 10/29/2018

Naomi Demarest
Member Since: 10/24/2018

Sean Devereaux
Member Since: 09/11/2018

Sarah Elliston, CVA
Member Since: 05/17/2010

Paul Falkowski
Member Since: 09/26/2018

Jennifer Highfield
Member Since: 08/16/2018

Emma Onawa
Member Since: 08/17/2017

Maura Muller
Member Since: 08/04/2017

Karen Pattison
Member Since: 10/24/2017

Kathy Perun
Member Since: 06/24/2015

Cairn Reisch
Member Since: 09/04/2018

Mark Smith
Member Since: 10/27/2017

Barbara Gullickson
Member Since: 07/16/2010

Jerome Tennille
Member Since: 10/09/2017

Patricia Wright
Member Since: 08/17/2017

We're Now on Instagram!

See more at volunteeralive on insta!  Thanks to
AL!VE Board Member Audrey Kidwell for setting up and managing.  If you'd like to help with instagram or other social media, contact us.

Give via Amazon Smile or Ebay

AL!VE will NOT be sending an Annual Appeal to our members this year, and instead invite you to give to AL!VE via Amazon Smile or Ebay.  It's easy, and consider bookmarking the sites so you can shop and donate!

To learn more, visit our 'Donate' page on our website.  Thank you!

Question? Contact Us!

We are here for you!  If you have a question, recommendation or concern, please do not hesitate to contact us at  Or visit our website at

President's Message

AL!VE Board President Dana Litwin, CVA

 We are in the season of gifts and gratitude for many cultures; celebrating and observing traditions at the end of the year, the decade, and for me - my term of service on the AL!VE Board. I am so very grateful and honored to be a part of this amazing organization, and the expansion of membership, benefits, and programs in the past 6 years. When Jason Frenzel (Past President) and I joined the AL!VE Board in 2013, we had very specific shared goals and strategic vision. Thanks to a talented team of Board and committee members, and our priceless Association Manager, Gretchen Jordan, that vision is reality and AL!VE goes into 2020 with strong leadership and a sustainable future.
Being on the AL!VE Board has given me the gift of dear friends and colleagues, transformed my personal and professional development, and led to more exciting opportunities to amplify our voices for #LeadersOfVolunteers, including the multi-sector National Alliance for Volunteer Engagement. I’ll continue to serve on the AL!VE Membership Committee, and I humbly pass the Executive torch to the very capable hands of 2020 President Megan Vixie and President Elect, Michelle Raymer.
I wish you all the happiest holiday season!

Thank you to Dana, Brian, & Jason

Megan Vixie, CVA AL!VE President Elect

Thank You Jason, Dana and Brian!
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the AL!VE membership, we would like to thank Jason Frenzel, Dana Litwin and Brian Probst for their service to AL!VE’s Board of Directors over the past six years.  These individuals have completed their terms on the board, and have made so many impactful contributions to the board that have Made our organization what it is today.
Jason Frenzel: Through Jason’s leadership as President, he has helped to make key connections throughout the nation to build partnerships and resources for AL!VE members, especially with Points of Light and MAVA. He has also helped to establish a strong working board with an eye for succession planning so AL!VE’s long-term visioning can be achieved. Together with Dana, Jason has formed a more diverse board, representing more sectors in our field geographically and culturally.
Dana Litwin: Through Dana’s leadership as President, she has strengthened board development as well as national partnerships to position AL!VE as a strong partner and facilitator. She also helped facilitate the creation of the National Alliance for Volunteer Engagement, and continues to work with this collaboration to strengthen volunteerism as an effective mechanism for change. And who can forget her talent for hosting AL!VE’s hybrid conference each year!
Brian Probst: Brian has served as AL!VE’s Treasurer during his tenure and put procedures into place to ensure AL!VE remains fiscally sound. He's created accurate and timely reporting each month of AL!VE’s finances, files all necessary paperwork and reporting to keep our non-profit status, has set up autopayments with our accounts and has worked on annual giving campaigns and setting up other fundraising arms such as Amazon Smile and eBay Charity. 
While there are many more accomplishments (too many to name!), we have all benefited from their hard work and dedication throughout these years.  They have laid the foundation for this current board to take AL!VE to the next level, and are forever grateful for their service to their profession and to all of us.
So once again, thank you for your service and we look forward to continue working with you on committees and other aspects of AL!VE in 2020!


Annual Meeting Recap

The AL!VE Annual Meeting was held on November 20th.  Highlights were:
  • Election results and 2020 Board of Directors
  • Reports from the Vice Presidents of Marketing, Membership, and Programs & Advocacy
    • report on 2019 Activities and Successes
    • 2020 Goals and Objectives
  • Acknowledgements of outgoing Board Members Jason Frenzel, Dana Litwin, and Brian Probst

You can view a recording of our Annual Meeting or download the presentation by:

1.  Log in to the 'members only' section of the AL!VE website.
2.  Scroll to the 'Resources' tab on the members page
3.  Choose the 'File Archive' section
4.  Click on the 'Annual Meetings' link

Thank you to all who attended!

2019 Impact Award Recipients Selected

Thank you to all who submitted nominations, the selection committee, and Better Impact for the award sponsorship.  Recipients for the award were considered in part on the basis of their contributions to the volunteer management profession on a local, regional, or national basis.  The selection committee is pleased to present these awards to the following individuals.
 Exemplary Leaders:

Susan Nusall, CVA, Director of Volunteers, Arizona Bar Foundation, Phoenix, AZ 

Brenda Michael-Haggard, CFRE, CVA, Tulsa, OK

Tori Carlson, CVA, Volunteer Resources Manager, Interfaith Community Service,
 Tuscon, AZ

Emerging Leaders:

Corina Sadler, CVA, Volunteer Resources Supervisor, City of Plano, Plano TX  

Bonnie Davis, CVA, Director of Workforce Development and Volunteer Services, Snowline Hospice, Sacramento, CA  


Alex Ropes, Volunteer Manager, Amara, Seattle, WA

Learn more about the Impact Award from our website.  Special thanks to our sponsor Better Impact for providing the cash prizes and awards.

Networking & Learning Opportunity -AL!VE’s 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.

New! Transportation Program Communities of Practice
For any questions about this, please contact Alexandra Maggio, COP facilitator, at

Multi-Site Communities of Practice
For any questions about this, please contact Allyson Drinnon, COP Facilitator, at​. 

Rural Communities of Practice - 2020 Dates Set!

  • February 18, 2 pm E
  • May 19, 2 pm 
  • August 18, 2 pm E
  • October 20, 2 pm E
For any questions about this, please contact Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss, COP facilitator, at

January 2020 AL!VE Academy: Managing Volunteer Risks - What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Through description and discussion of actual incidents occurring over the five-decade history of the Volunteers Insurance Service program, you will learn how to dig deep to evaluate severity and frequency of foreseeable risks; how to select, train and hold volunteers accountable; how to respond when incidents do occur; and more.

Presenter: William Henry, Volunteers Insurance Service Association ( 

For more information click here.

Local Association Member Update

We've seen many local associations at holiday gatherings or events, and we send our best to all of you!
If you missed our annual meeting, we'd like to briefly share our 2020 goals:
-Increase local association memberships.  To build a real national network of volunteer engagement professionals, we know that connecting via the local associations will be the most effective way to connect regarding advocacy, networking, and professional development.  We are happy to welcome NYAVA, GRAVA, and MCVDS as new members in the 4th quarter!
-Increase our mentoring program.  We are working with two very experienced mentors who are meeting monthly with their mentees.  You can find out more about mentoring or becoming a mentor here.
-Roll out our national list of local associations.  If you are not on our list, do submit your information.  We hear from members and colleagues often that are new to the field who are looking for a local association to get involved in and we'd be happy to refer them to you. 
-And more!  Stay tuned.

You'll be hearing more from us in the first quarter and we look forward to talking with you!  

Volunteer Management Professionals Conference 2019 & 2020 Updates

'The Future is Now' had a record 48 remote broadcast sites in the US and Canada.  Thanks to our partners Better Impact and the VMPC (Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada), over 1,000 attendees participated over the two-day broadcast.

Save the Date!  "Managing Risk" is the 2020 topic.
How will you manage risk in your career, your program, and with volunteers?

2020 Timeline:
  • Call for presenters:  mid January 
  • Remote site registrations open:  April - September 
  • Remote training for remote sites and site facilitators:  July -September 
  • Managing Risk Livestream Event -
    • October 20 (Pacific & Mountain)
    • October 21 (Central and Eastern)
Registration discounts will be given for AL!VE Local Association members and returning locations.  

Sign up to learn more about our sixth annual Volunteer Management Hybrid Conference via informational webinars.  Regular updates will begin in January.

Why Certify?

How to Have Fun at Dinner Parties and Why Certification Matters
by Faiza Venzant CVA, CVRM, General Manager, Volunteer Development, YMCA of Greater Toronto
I love a dinner party. Meeting new people, yummy food, good music. I especially love the question that everyone (but me) asks over and over again. “What do you do?” I will passionately share my experiences about my work in volunteer engagement with anyone who will listen but the response I often get, accompanied by a look which is one part concern, one part puzzlement and one part curiosity is, “So you’re a volunteer, how can you live on that?”
I’ve been working in the field of volunteer engagement for almost 20 years. Not much has changed for me at dinner parties except that I tend to opt for stretchy pants and flats more often than a cute dress and heels. Once, halfway through dessert at a dinner party, someone said to me, “So is it like HR for volunteers?” This is where I start to feel tired.
Our profession is vital and vibrant. We’re pretty amazing in our ability to inform strategy, inspire action, and galvanize individuals and groups to invest their non-renewable resource of time. And we get them to do it repeatedly while making them jump through screening hoops! We connect, we create, we educate, we motivate, we coach, we mentor, we plan and we prioritize. We wear many hats/hijabs/kippahs in our day to day work. We’re outstanding! We are! But we still go to dinner parties and…Can we all agree that it’s time to change the perception of volunteer engagement?
One incredible way I’ve been able to do that is through certification. In 2016, I obtained my CVA designation from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Here are three ways obtaining the certification has already been a no brainer for me. Gosh! I only wish I had done it sooner.
1. Credibility – The CVA is the only international professional credential for volunteer engagement professionals. Obtaining the certification has already increased my credibility as a speaker, writer, professional, and mentor not only in Canada but around the world. A happy coincidence of that is that my network has exploded and I have an international community of CVAs that I can look to for help and resources.
2. Confidence – Since obtaining my CVA, I feel a renewed confidence in my ability, career prospects and options for growth and development in our field. The task of preparing, studying and sitting for the certification exam was an affirmation that I am doing work that is valuable and requires great skill. It also reinforced that this is a profession that requires constant learning, building new connections and daily work in better understanding people through a personal commitment to diversity and inclusion work.
3. Contribution – We spend our days asking people to contribute. Obtaining my CVA has allowed me to do the same for our profession. I believe in certification so much that I now volunteer as a Board Member for CCVA. Being able to contribute on behalf of people whose work I admire is a privilege. (And by people I mean you!) As a CVA, take your knowledge to ALI!VE or your local AVA and contribute what you can when you can.
Bringing credibility and confidence to your work and making a contribution to the profession through obtaining your CVA is one way to elevate this profession and attract the recognition we seek. The next application deadline is March ***, 2020 and members of AL!VE get a discount on the application fee. I invite you to learn more at and let your fellow dinner partyers know about the exam you have coming up!
Newsletter - AL!VE Newsletter: December 2019