he very word “volunteer” belies the idea of getting paid for the work. Volunteers are, after all, those who perform a service willingly and without pay. They take “living generously” to a whole new level.

However, there are those, working in either the for-profit or nonprofit sectors, who make their living by recruiting, training, scheduling and managing volunteers.

As you might imagine, this work has its challenges. And yet volunteers are the lifeblood of many charitable endeavors and are worth their weight in gold to the communities they serve. Therefore, a career in volunteerism can be very rewarding and important work.

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has long worked to strengthen the capacity of nonprofits to do their work. In an effort to build volunteer capacity, and to help bolster the usage of Lowcountry Volunteer Connections (a free local database of volunteer opportunities on our website that can be accessed by those wishing to volunteer), our program staff has established a local chapter of the South Carolina Association for Volunteer Administration.

SCAVA’s mission is to educate, inspire and support leaders in volunteer resource management and to promote and elevate the profession. The goals of the group are:

  • To provide a local forum for the expression of common concerns and sharing of experiences regarding the use of volunteers in the community.
  • To provide opportunities for professional growth, to maximize volunteer contributions to the community and to keep attuned to new opportunities and resources available within the field.
  • To serve as an advocate, seeking to raise the level of public understanding and participation in the volunteer movement.
  • To uphold volunteer administration as a profession by promoting a high standard of ethics.
  • To encourage the proper utilization and recognition of volunteer skills and services and to enhance the role and dignity of the volunteer.
  • To provide members with opportunities to share and exchange knowledge and experiences in the creative use of volunteer service.

Significant progress has been made in the establishment of this local chapter, now known as SoLo SCAVA (Southern Lowcountry SCAVA). This new chapter will serve Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties. A leadership board has been formed; a meeting and program schedule has been established.

It is this programming that will ensure that the membership meetings are meaningful and impactful. Starting in 2018, members will pay an annual $35 membership fee, which will help to provide a web portal, a Constant Contact account to manage membership, an annual member conference and local trainings, webinars and workshops.

A fund has been established at the Community Foundation, through a grant from the Community Foundation, to ensure that the fledgling organization gets off to a good start. The successful launch meeting was held on Sept. 21 and attracted 35 participants.

For more information, contact Kevin Smith at the Community Foundation at 843-681-9100, or the SoLo SCAVA Chair Shannon McLure at 843-815-1570.

Denise K. Spencer is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. www.cf-lowcountry.org