Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administration (MAVA) is a membership association of about 800 leaders of volunteers, mostly professional volunteer program administrators, from across the state. It's a forum for members to become engaged with professional development and share resources. MAVA conducts the latest research on volunteerism, including engaging new immigrant communities, best practices for engaging baby boomers and the impact of the recession.
Jay Haapala—current board chair for MAVA and volunteer services administrator at the Minnesota Children’s Museum—was gracious enough to provide The Bridge an inside view of MAVA.
What are some beneficial services that MAVA offers that most constituents may not know about?
Advanced research and professional development related to current trends in volunteerism is something that members have always wanted, and something that MAVA delivers very well. However, MAVA's basic Volunteer Resources Leadership certificate is the most well-known program.
The field of volunteer program administration has only recently became professionalized, so the first step for any professional is to get organized and manage volunteers according to researched best practices. Once the structure is in place, programs can become more flexible to capitalize on new trends in volunteerism, like engaging new immigrant communities, baby-boomers and workforce-related volunteerism.
MAVA has done the research and trains its members in these new trends.
Who are the organization's key partners, and why are these partnerships imperative to the success of MAVA and its member organizations?
MAVA's 800 individual and organizational members are its most important partners. Members do the work of the association as volunteers, provide opportunities for each other to grow as professionals and most importantly, they ask the important questions that drive progress or the field of volunteer administration.
What are the perks of working at MAVA, being on the board, and being a member organization?
The primary reason I got involved with MAVA and became the board president is that it makes me a better volunteer administrator and benefits my employer to a level that exceeds my investment of time. Through my role, I'm in a perfect position to collaborate with other members and form mutually beneficial partnerships. I have access to the latest research and the best minds working on volunteerism in Minnesota—and even around the world.
I believe my role is also an opportunity to develop professionally, strengthen my network and gain new experiences. Plus, it's been a lot of fun working with other board members.