September 29, 2013

About IAVE

Introducing IAVE

The International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) was founded in 1970 by a group of volunteers from around the world who saw in volunteering a means of making connections across countries and cultures. It has grown into a global network of volunteers, volunteer organisations, national representatives and volunteer centres, with members in over 70 countries, and in all world regions. The majority of IAVE members are in developing countries. IAVE is registered as a charity in the USA, in California, with By-Laws which set out the governing principles and procedures. IAVE has special consultative status with the UN ECOSOC Committee, and associate status with the UN Department of Public Information. It is a member of the UN Confederation of NGO’s, and has a strong working relationship with UN Volunteers, underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding.


IAVE exists to promote, strengthen and celebrate the development of volunteering worldwide. It is the only international organisation for which this is the primary aim.

Governance and Structure

IAVE is governed by an international Board, consisting of the President elected by the Board; and Vice-President elected by the whole membership; Regional Representatives elected by and from the members in each region; and a number of members appointed to bring particular skills or expertise. For reasons of cost, the Board meets once a year for two days. It appoints an Executive Committee to deal with finance and other on-going business, which meets by telephone conference six times a year. The Board also appoints other committees and working groups as necessary, including a Nominating Committee for the conduct of elections.


IAVE is still run almost entirely by volunteers. The President is also the CEO, and there is a network of volunteer national representatives in some 50 of the countries where IAVE has members, who promote IAVE in their country and act as a contact point with members. There is no permanent secretariat.

IAVE's staffed offices include a small President’s office with part-time admin support. The membership is administered through an office in the US. The information service and website are located in Taiwan, staffed by a part-time executive director and a small team of volunteers. In 2006 IAVE launched a Global Corporate Volunteer Council, and engaged a part-time consultant to administer it. We therefore currently have two part-time staff, and have contracts for part-time work with two self-employed consultants.

IAVE’s work programme

IAVE is best known for its biennial World Volunteer Conferences and affiliated Youth Volunteer Conferences. The world conferences have run in an unbroken sequence since 1970. These are major events in the world of volunteering, attracting a global audience, distinguished speakers and skilled and experienced workshop presenters. IAVE members in individual countries bid to run the conference, with the result that the conference moves around the world.

In 2001, the UN International Year of the Volunteer, the IAVE World Volunteer Conference, held in Amsterdam in January 2001, was officially recognised as the opening event of the year. The Universal Declaration on Volunteering was adopted at the Conference. IAVE members all round the world played an important part in the Year’s events in their country, and one of the closing events of the Year was an IAVE International Youth Conference held in Japan. These groundbreaking events were echoed during IYV+10 in 2011, with the IAVE World Conference in Singapore in January, and the IAVE World Youth Summit in Colombia in December.  

In recent years IAVE has been responding to changes in the world of volunteering by positioning itself as a key leadership body for the development of volunteering, building a more strategic role, whilst at the same time remaining a membership organisation, connected through its membership to volunteering interests at grassroots, national and global levels.