IAVE’s Strategic Direction

IAVE’s Strategic Direction was developed and approved by our board of directors in 2016, drawing on the input of many members and stakeholders during the consultation phase. It explains who we are, what we stand for, what we do and what we hope to accomplish over the next five years. Development of the Strategic Plan for 2021-2025 is currently underway and will be made available in the first quarter of 2021.

Read the full Strategic Direction below (Download Spanish version here):

IAVE’s Strategic Direction


IAVE’s Strategic Direction through 2020 is the result of a six-month consultative and deliberative process by the Board of Directors, with support from the Secretariat team. This process included surveys of our members, national volunteer centers throughout the world, and members of our Global Corporate Volunteer Council as well as of the board and Secretariat team. Interviews were conducted with colleague global NGOs and with board members. Drawing on the work and insights of those colleague organizations and our own literature review, we prepared a background report on trends and issues likely to affect volunteering in the future. The board held a two-day planning meeting in November 2015. That work was refined in subsequent discussions and this final document was approved in February 2016.

Our Vision.

IAVE’s vision is of a global culture of volunteering that is recognized as vital to creating a fair, peaceful, sustainable and compassionate world.

Our Mission.

IAVE’s mission is to enable leaders of volunteering worldwide to stand in solidarity with one another to promote, support and celebrate volunteering in all of the many ways it happens throughout the world.

Our Value Proposition.

Working with a distinctive global perspective IAVE brings together leaders of volunteering, providing a platform to promote, strengthen and celebrate volunteering throughout the world.

Our Guiding Principles.

  1. Diversity – IAVE seeks to develop and sustain a global perspective on volunteering. We recognize and honor the variety of ways people engage as volunteers – from individual acts of helping to large-scale collective action, from spontaneous response to needs and issues to structured formal volunteer programs; from programs created and sustained by NGOs, business and government to those that are powered by the energy and leadership of concerned, committed individuals.
  2. Inclusion IAVE’s work seeks to recognize, value and support the participation of volunteers without regard to their cultural and ethnic origin, religion, age, gender and physical, social and economic position and citizenship status. We have a particular interest in ensuring that opportunities for marginalized or vulnerable groups are available and valued.
  3.  Partnership – IAVE places high value on developing strong, sustained, mutually beneficial partnerships with NGOs, businesses, multilateral organizations and governments and all others that our belief of the power of volunteering to change the world. By making this a primary way of work, it enables us to leverage limited resources into significant global impact.
  4. Impact – IAVE recognizes the vital importance of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a means to address the world’s most critical challenges. We are committed to helping realize the effective, impactful engagement of volunteers in the effort to achieve them.
  5. Peace and Development – IAVE believes that volunteers have a critical role in promoting peace and human development. We welcome and embrace the United Nations resolution on Integrating volunteering into peace and development: the place of action for the next decade and beyond and will take a leadership role with our partners to realize its achievement.

Our Priority Areas.

  • National leadership structures for volunteering
  • Businesses committed to engaging their employees as volunteers or strengthening volunteering
  • Global volunteer involving organizations (International organizations that engage volunteers to achieve their goals)
  • Our members

Our Core Functions.

  • Advocacy – We use key global, national, regional and, where appropriate, local forums, institutions and communication channels to advocate for recognition and advancement of volunteers and volunteering and on issues of critical importance.
  • Knowledge development and dissemination – we foster the development of new knowledge about volunteering through research and organized learning activities and actively share that knowledge.
  • Network development and mobilization – We create and sustain networks of like-minded stakeholders and members in order to strengthen our shared capacity to pursue our mission. Examples include, but are not limited to, our Global Corporate Volunteer Council (GCVC) and our Global Network of National Volunteer Centers.
  • Convening – We bring together, in person and online, leaders in volunteering to discuss, debate and deepen our shared understanding of volunteering and its potential as a global force for good. Examples include, but are not limited to, world and regional conferences, in-person meetings of our networks and webinars.

Our Goals.

By 2020 we will:

1. Leverage our relationships with national leadership structure for volunteering, global companies, global volunteer involving organizations and our members to create and engage in partnerships that increase the level and impact of volunteering on specific targets within the Sustainable Development Goals.

Specifically, we will:

a. Continue to give priority to our partnership work 
related to disaster-related volunteering.
b. Map the work our different stakeholder groups are 
doing with respect to the SDGs and identify opportunities for enhanced partnerships. This work will determine our future focus.

2. Lead the creation of a global environment that highly values volunteering by building and sharing knowledge that motivates and informs effective volunteering, including documenting and telling the stories of volunteers and their impact.

Specifically, we will:

a. Develop an advocacy framework to guide our decisions about the issues we will give priority to advocating on;
b. Be recognized as a global thought leader on volunteering by a wider group of stakeholders than those we currently engage with.
c. Develop relationships with global volunteer- involving organizations that, together, leverages their unique position to help accelerate the creation of a global culture of volunteering.
d. Develop strategic knowledge about volunteering that informs and is valued, with particular attention to the global scope, impact and value of volunteering and to corporate volunteering, national leadership structures for volunteering and global volunteer involving organizations.
e. Initiate, on our own or in partnership, research on important issues and trends in volunteering.

3. Advocate actively for the rights of people to volunteer and for policies and measures that create an enabling environment in which volunteering can flourish. This will include responding to efforts to limit or control that right, and on issues in which the safety and freedom of volunteers are endangered. 

Specifically, we will:

a. Develop partnerships with organizations who are working 
in defense of civil society or in settings in which the work 
of volunteers is dangerous or is compromised.
b. Develop a knowledge base that identifies where and how 
the rights of people to volunteer are being restricted or limited in some way and be actively drawing on this to defend the rights of people to volunteer.
c. Revisit and renew commitment to the Universal Declaration on Volunteering through a process of broad consultation to begin and 2018 and conclude in 2020.

4. Lead in developing strong, sustainable national leadership structures for volunteering globally, with a priority on areas of the world where they are just emerging or essentially absent.

Specifically, we will:

a. Complete the first global study on national leadership structures and draw on this to scope our future focus and priorities in this area.

5. Lead in developing corporate volunteering globally, with a priority in areas of the world where it is emerging or essentially absent.

Specifically, we will:

a. Initiate development work that examines the presence of, and potential for, corporate volunteering initiatives in all regions of the world. This work will inform our future priorities.
b. Complete a second global research project on corporate volunteering, building on our original landmark study;
c. Stimulate and support the development of corporate volunteer councils in regions where they don’t currently exist.
d. Maintain and strengthen Global Corporate Volunteering Council as a significant leadership network for the growth and development of corporate volunteering globally.

6. Contribute significantly to the development of new methods and tools to measure the scope and impact of volunteering.

Specifically we will:

a. Strengthen our co-operation with those that work in this 
area, for example with universities, researchers and 
b. Cultivate a network of experts that will inform and drive the 
development, expansion and dissemination of how to 
measure the impact of volunteering.
c. Build a commitment within the field to initiating, 
participating in and supporting the implementation of tools 
to measure the scope and impact of volunteering.
d. Advocate for the inclusion of additional data collection 
within relevant existing surveys that will contribute to the measurement of the scope and impact of volunteering.

Operational Goals.

Over the term of this strategic plan we aim to strengthen our organizational capability and capacity to deliver on our strategic goals. Our operational goals underpin these.

By 2020 we will:

  1. GovernanceContinue to strengthen our approach to board governance to ensure that IAVE is well equipped to respond with agility to emerging opportunities and deal effectively with key risks and challenges.
  2. FinancialDevelop and implement a financial growth plan that will ensure IAVE’s long-term financial sustainability and capacity to pursue our mission.
  3. CommunicationDevelop and implement a comprehensive promotional, communication and engagement strategy that enhances all areas of IAVE’s work
  4. ManagementReview our operating model and structure and implement any changes necessary to ensure that it remains ‘fit for purpose’ to deliver on our strategic priorities and continues to build IAVE’s long-term sustainability and capacity.

To download the full 2016-2020 Strategic Direction in PDF, click here (Spanish version).