MSU Extension poised to share expertise on volunteerism on national level

Michigan State University Extension is leading the way in volunteerism. First off, we’ve been awarded the opportunity to put on the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism (NECV). The conference will take place May 20-23, 2013, at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Conference Center in Frankenmuth, Mich. We’re expecting 175 to 200 participants from throughout the country to attend.

The NECV presents an opportunity for sharing and learning the latest research and trends in volunteerism, gaining innovative ideas for reaching new volunteers, investigating the best practices for developing and retaining current volunteers, and strengthening volunteer management efforts. Conference participants will gather tools and skills through interactive sessions and networking with colleagues and will develop plans to utilize new resources in their home state programs. Members of the MSUE Volunteer Management Systems Team will be actively involved in the scholarly presentations and learning as well as the logistics of the conference.

That’s not all of the good news regarding MSU Extension’s role in volunteerism. MSU Extension submitted a proposal to create a new eXtension Community of Practice (CoP) focused on volunteerism. We’ve recently received word that the proposal was selected. The carefully designed and implemented needs assessment was core to the success of the proposal. This reinforces the importance of that step in development of a logic model and program plan.

Molly Frendo, MSU Extension associate program leader, will co-lead the project with Jana Ferris, Washington State University Extension educator. Julie Chapin, director of the Children and Youth Institute, will act as administrative advisor, and Doug Brahee, Extension specialist, will lead the Content Development Team. Specialists and educators from other universities and the USDA will also be part of the leadership team.

As you know, we’ve been actively involved in eXtension since its inception, and I’m confident the resources and leadership we contribute to this new CoP will be a large part of its success. The CoP will build the skills of staff and experienced volunteers, foster collaboration and build scholarship in the area of volunteer administration. Volunteer managers will benefit from an online environment where they can find high-quality professional development tools, templates and resources that are research and evidenced based. And on top of that, they’ll belong to a community of peers through eXtension.

Molly said, “MSUE has such great work going on in the area of volunteerism, which makes them perfect for getting involved in this excellent scholarship opportunity. We’ll be doing a big push at NECV to recruit staff from around the country to participate in the CoP, and I can’t wait to show everyone why MSUE is leading the way in this field!”

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