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Volunteering Promotes Civic Engagement & Supports the Mission of Ending Rape and Abuse

In 2017 volunteers at Missouri domestic and sexual violence programs logged 173,628 hours of service, equating to $3,125,304 based on the federal rate of $18/hour. MCADSV welcomed advocates from around Missouri this week to a training addressing the challenges and successes of volunteer recruitment, retention, and management. The nonprofit sector can be competitive; resources are often scarce and nonprofit executives and boards of directors must be able to adapt to a changing society and workforce. Recruiting, engaging and retaining a strong volunteer base is a key human resource strategy that can help nonprofits adapt to change.

The nonprofit sector has grown significantly in the United States over the last century. The Corporation for National and Community Service has identified four challenges the nonprofit sector currently faces: workforce development, infrastructure costs, diversity and inclusion, social relevance. One solution to meeting these challenges is to go back to the roots of the nonprofit sector—volunteers. Volunteers can support nonprofit organizations in a myriad of ways including time, resources, and connections. In the early days of the violence against women movement, before domestic violence shelters and sexual assault service providers, there were grassroots efforts of women volunteering their time to operate hotlines and opening their homes for other women and their children to have a safe place.

Representatives from MCADSV member programs first met in 1991-1992 to develop a set of comprehensive guidelines for domestic violence programs. These guidelines eventually became the Service Standards and Guidelines for Domestic Violence Programs. Since 1991 MCADSV continues to get periodic feedback from member program representatives in order to address current and emerging needs of domestic and sexual violence programs. MCADSV has service standards for volunteers which includes: 40-48 hours of training, opportunities for continued professional development, job descriptions and ongoing supervision. 

Completing 40-48 hours of training can also be a challenge. MCADSV staff along with advocates from member programs developed creative, flexible options for training and engaging volunteers: 

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