April 25, 2023
National Volunteer Council gives voice to CASA/GAL volunteers
In 2021, National CASA/GAL gathered together network volunteers to form the National Volunteer Council, patterned after the leadership councils for state, urban, suburban, rural, and Tribal communities. National CASA/GAL wanted to show its commitment to having volunteer voices at the table to understand the experiences, needs, challenges, and opportunities of state and local program volunteers, and to leverage their expertise.
National Volunteer Council (NVC) members are charged with advancing the CASA/GAL mission and core model, as well as the goals and objectives of the network. The council meets monthly to discuss issues of importance to volunteers throughout the network. National CASA/GAL staff members attend the meetings to hear the volunteers’ views and perspectives.
The council consists of volunteers who are either nominated by directors of local programs or state organizations. In some instances, volunteers self-nominate. In choosing members, National CASA/GAL looks for a body that will reflect the diversity of the network in different ways, including varied geographic locations that span the country; different types of program structures that comprise the CASA/GAL network; program affinity (urban, rural, suburban, and Tribal); length of service; experience, and skills. With a council built from a diversity of experiences and backgrounds, National CASA/GAL ensures the voice of the council will include the complete spectrum of volunteer perspectives in the network.
In 2022, the NVC members participated in crafting the soon-to-be unveiled strategic framework. To ensure their input was complete, they created four working groups to develop recommendations for volunteer success in four distinct areas: recruitment, screening and selection, training, and experience and retention. Throughout 2022, the working groups convened and discussed the topics related to their respective purposes. They presented their recommendations at the January 2023 National Volunteer Council meeting.
The volunteers’ perspectives will inform national efforts to recruit, train, engage and retain volunteers, as well as improve the volunteer experience.