Measuring the Value of Volunteering. Everyone – individuals, organizations, businesses, governments – wants to make a positive difference through volunteering. But is it realistically possible to evaluate the value add of our volunteering in addressing critical problems, strengthening communities, for recipients of volunteer service, for volunteers themselves? What kind of investment is required – and are we willing to make it? This session explores those questions and other key issues about how to measure value.

Building Sustainable, Beneficial National Leadership for Volunteering. Building on the results of IAVE’s global research on the nature and scope of national leadership structures for volunteering, this session will feature a key dialogue with existing and inspiring national leaders. We will examine a spectrum of models, from “traditional national volunteer center” to government-based agencies to coalitions of volunteer involving organizations – and what the future may hold for them.

Pro Bono and Skills Based Volunteering. “Is it volunteering or is it something else?” But, does it matter so long as it is enabling people to contribute their knowledge and skills to problem-solving in their communities and throughout the world. This session digs into the opportunities, benefits, realities and limitations of these growing forms of involvement and on how they and “traditional volunteering” can leverage one another for greatest impact.

Volunteering in a World of Natural and Man-Made Disasters. The reality is that we face a seemingly never-ending series of disasters that are affecting the lives of tens of millions of us. What is the appropriate role for volunteers in preparing for, preventing, responding to and rebuilding from disasters? What is the role of businesses, educational institutions, NGOs and governments in mobilizing volunteers in advance of, during and after “the CNN moment” when the world is focused on a disaster?

The Role of Governments as Leaders for Volunteering. Government can play a critical leadership role for volunteering: establishing an appropriate legal framework; creating an environment that values and enables volunteering; sponsoring initiatives to mobilize volunteers; supporting the development of leadership structures for volunteering. But government also can and, in many parts of the world, does act to limit volunteering and citizen action. We will explore both of these roles in this session.

Educational Institutions as Leaders for Volunteering. Through mobilization of its students as volunteers, requirements for community service and adoption of service-learning strategies, educational institutions at all levels contribute to building a “habit of helping” among youth. This theme will focus primarily on innovative practices with demonstrated effectiveness and will examine ways to maximize the benefits for communities, students and the institutions.

Increasing NGO Capacity for Effective Volunteer Engagement. Join leaders from throughout the world in a vigorous discussion of how to build the capacity of organizations to effectively engage volunteers; standards and practices to achieve excellence in volunteer management; and strategies for building a public climate that places high value on volunteering. Help develop strategies for how the volunteer community can shape governments’ support for our work.

Volunteering and the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteering is being challenged to respond to the SDGs with new initiatives, focused on new desired outcomes, and mobilizing new skills and knowledge. How will we respond? Will the SDGs change volunteering as we know it? Will we recognize the need for a new focus in our volunteering or will it be “business as usual”? Respond to leaders from the UN, business and NGOs about the realities of what the response realistically will be.

Current Issues in Research on Volunteering. This session brings together people – local, national and international – who share a commitment to research on volunteering. They will discuss the challenges currently faced by researchers in the field, the topics of greatest interest in the future and how practitioners at all levels can contribute to learning more about the nature, scope and dynamics of volunteering.

Volunteering, Advocacy and Activism. We sometimes forget that those engaged in social justice, advocacy and activism, often at the grassroots level, most often are volunteers. This session will look at the dynamics of this critically important form of volunteering and at whether and how we can build effective partnerships between social justice volunteers and “service volunteers” to bring needed change in public policy and problem-solving strategies.

Volunteering as a Step Toward Paid Employment. How can volunteering help to build the skills, attitudes, behaviors and experience necessary to enter and succeed in the paid workforce? Special emphasis will be placed on youth, people who are unemployed and people on the margin of the world of paid work. This session also will look at how volunteering can lead to social entrepreneurship, providing paid employment while adding social value.

Everyone Can Volunteer – If We Let Them. Everyone on earth is a potential volunteer. But too often, “we” label some as “the other” and assume they must be helped and cannot themselves be helpers. In this forum, we are exploring issues related to volunteering and inclusion – how we break down barriers and change attitudes so that everyone is welcomed and enabled to volunteer – from the multiple perspectives of organizations and volunteers.

Perspectives on the Future of Corporate Volunteering. Corporate volunteering is one of the highest impact, most influential and fastest growing forms of volunteering. But what of its future? Key leaders from both businesses and international NGOs will debate questions like these: What is the future of corporate volunteering? Will it be reshaped by the SDGs? By the “digital age?” By new expectations for engagement before, during and after disasters?

The New Faces of Volunteering in the Digital Age. We live in a new world, one in which new technology is empowering people throughout the world to participate in the lives of their communities, their nations and the affairs of the world in new ways. This session looks at both the positive and the negative impacts of this on volunteering as we know it and explores the new forms of volunteering that may emerge.

Responding to the crisis of human movement, refugees, displaced people and migrants. They are searching for safety and opportunity whether escaping conflict, persecution or poverty.  Volunteers every day are helping them survive, live in safety and sustain their human dignity.  And, they themselves are volunteers, helping one another and joining in the life of their new communities.  In this forum learn about how individuals, companies and NGOs are assisting in the refugee crisis around the world. 

Good Deeds Day. Since its founding in 2007, Good Deeds Day (GDD) has spread to some 75 countries worldwide.  In 2016, 1.5 million volunteers gave 4 million hours of service to their communities in 14,000+ projects.  In this forum, five GDD leaders will share their experiences with the program and its impact in their countries.  Participants will learn how to become part of this collective action and to develop their own national and local activities.

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