The CVA (Certified in Volunteer Administration) credential was developed by the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA) in the early 1980's as a professional development tool for individual practitioners who mobilize and manage volunteers. From the beginning, this certification program was intended to be:
- applicable to all types of settings and organizations
- international in scope
Under the auspices of AVA the program grew slowly but steadily, certifying over 400 individuals in the U.S. and Canada. In 2000, AVA undertook a major revision of the program in order to:
- update the process to meet the needs of current practitioners
- reassess the core competencies on which it was based
- ensure compliance with accepted best practices in professional certification
After a successful pilot of the new process in 2001, the program continued to grow with very positive feedback from the field. It was managed by a part-time contractor and over 50 volunteer committee members who made decisions regarding test items, scoring of portfolios, selection of reference materials, and recertification. An additional 255 professionals were credentialed from January 2001 to August 2006.
Crisis and Transition
In January 2006 the AVA Board of Directors learned that the organization was in severe financial trouble. When it became clear that AVA might be forced to dissolve as an organization, efforts immediately began to preserve the CVA ("Certified in Volunteer Administration") credentialing program and find a way for it to survive the crisis.
A number of options were discussed among many individuals who had a strong vested interest in the program. Being ever mindful of the need to ensure long-term sustainability, the decision was made to permanently house the program in a new, independent entity that will be truly representative of the entire field. This is a model used by several other professional certification programs, resulting in the program being jointly "owned" by many organizations, rather than one.
In June 2006, the AVA board transferred ownership of the CVA program and the "Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration" publication to the new Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration, with the understanding that they be "preserved and maintained ... for the benefit of the profession."
This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the history of the CVA credential. Its new home has been created out of the conviction that a collaborative approach will sustain current momentum, preserve high standards of excellence and professionalism, and yield the greatest degree of long-term value and credibility.
It is important to note that, during this period of chaos and transition, the program continued to operate without interruption. Over 120 candidates registered for the 2006 cycle, the exam was conducted on schedule, portfolios were reviewed and all materials were updated. This signaled a high level of commitment to the program and reinforced its perceived value by practitioners in the field.
The Council is Established
CCVA was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Virginia in June 2006 with the following mission:
CCVA promotes and certifies excellence in volunteer administration to advance the capacity of communities to effectively engage volunteers.
By the end of August 2006, the CCVA founding board had met to elect officers, clarify the Council's vision, and basic structure, draft bylaws and initial policies, and develop a strategic framework. Soon thereafter a budget was approved, the strategic plan was finalized, the former program manager was under contract as part-time Executive Director, the tax exempt application was prepared to submit to the IRS, and a web site was launched.
Consistent with its vision, CCVA expanded the Board of directors. In addition, a number of national and international institutions in the field of volunteerism have signed on as Supporters of the CVA credential. The creation of this new, independent "federated" home enables the CVA program to grow with widespread investment, visibility and support, and to be truly responsive to the changing needs of the entire spectrum of our profession.
2008 – CCVA published the first-ever “Body of Knowledge in Volunteer Administration, identifying the full range of skills and knowledge which serve as the foundation for this field, regardless of where or how it is practiced.
2009 – CCVA published Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice, a textbook organized around the Body of Knowledge. Written by 20 authors from the U.S. and Canada, it provides a unique contribution to the literature of the field by combining academic concepts and research with practical application.
2010 - The Association of Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals contracted with CCVA to manage their certification program. The Certified Administrator of Volunteer Resources (CAVS) credential is offered specifically for practitioners in healthcare settings in the United States.
2011 -- CCVA presented workshops on core competencies and professional ethics at the World Conference on Volunteerism in Singapore. Staff also consulted with the Canadian HR Council in support of their development of new occupational standards in volunteer resource management. Over 1000 leaders have now earned the CVA credential!
2012 -- CCVA welcomed a pilot group of 3 candidates from Singapore and the first candidate from the United Kingdom. Staff shared information about the core competencies with educators at the ARNOVA conference. A collaborative agreement was executed with the national Canadian Administrators of Volunteer Resources to offer the CVA credential to their members.
Strategic Direction and Values
The Board has updated a 3-year Strategic Plan which identifies CCVA's vision, mission, values and four strategic goals to guide future work. In addition, the CCVA board has re-affirmed its commitment to these core values:
- LEADERSHIP: We recognize skilled leaders in volunteer engagement, and promote their role as organizational and community experts.
- COLLABORATION: We identify global wisdom and expertise to develop collegial relationships, attract candidates, and remain relevant.
- PROFESSIONALISM: We believe in a universal standard of effective practice amidst the diversity of volunteering, and foster an ethos of excellence, transparency, and credibility.