About Forum

The International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) is the most significant global network of organisations that work with volunteers to achieve sustainable development goals. Forum exists to share information, develop good practice and enhance cooperation across the volunteering in development sector. Forum achieves this through convening, research, and standards. Forum is a ‘virtual’ network, with a global membership that includes a range of organisations involved in development cooperation including non-government and state organisations.

What does Forum do?

  • Convening: Forum brings its members together to share information, good practice and innovative approaches. This happens at the annual IVCO Conference, through webinars, Heads of Agency Calls and our Teams Platform. Forum members also collaborate through Working Groups.
  • Research: Forum creates research on questions of general interest to our members, such as our 2021 research project COVID-19 and the Future of Volunteering for Development. We also coordinate research amongst our members, and through the Forum Research, Practice, Policy and Learning (RPPL) Group we provide a space for members to collaborate with researchers and academics
  • Standards: Forum’s Standards Working Group created the Global Volunteering Standard, a new version of which was launched at IVCO 2021. The Standard is now accompanied by an online Platform which includes a Self-Assessment Tool and Learning Library.

Why is Forum important?

As a network of leading volunteering and cooperation agencies with a long track record of experience, Forum has a collective voice and unified identity in the values and principles that underpin volunteering for development. Forum aims to share information, develop good practice and enhance cooperation and support between its members. Together, members explore innovative practice and research key contemporary issues, focusing on organisational learning and improved practice.

Forum members celebrate and document the significance of volunteering and civil society inclusion through: staying connected; sharing practices; celebrating diversity; promoting inclusiveness and reciprocity; sharing knowledge; having critical debates; influencing external stakeholders; and through learning and supporting each other within the volunteering community.

How is Forum resourced?

Forum is resourced by membership subscriptions, occasional grants, and the voluntary staff time and funds from the organisations providing the Chair and the Forum Board of Directors. Subscriptions from members enable Forum to operate at a basic level with a part-time Executive Director and the capacity to organise the annual IVCO conference.

Forum’s Origins

Forum was founded in 1964 in Strasbourg under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Until 2000, Forum was an organisation for European-based agencies. In 2000, membership of Forum was opened up to organisations across the world. In 2002, Forum took over responsibility for running an annual meeting of Heads of International Volunteer Cooperation Organisations – now known as IVCO.

Please refer to Forum’s Charter for more a detailed description of Forum’s values.

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