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Volunteer Centres: Where Do They Fit in a Changing and Contested Environment?

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Over the last 10 years, a number of formerly thriving national Volunteer Centres in English-speaking countries have faltered, forced to find avenues of new funding or to merge with other organisations. But what about the fates of local and regional Volunteer Centres? How have they fared?

Using the development of volunteering infrastructure in Australia as a starting point, writer Annette Maher considers the pressures on Volunteer Centres everywhere – national, regional, and local. She considers their struggles to meet the needs of volunteers and their organizations, and to advocate for the field of volunteering in a world that is rapidly changing. In this feature story, Maher also examines such universal issues as the formalization of volunteering, professionalization of volunteer management, the benefits and dangers of government funding, and the need to collaborate.