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Formal Credentialing of Volunteers

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Recently, the British listserv, UKVPMs, had a flurry of postings regarding formal credentialing or accreditation of volunteers. As this topic has relevance to many settings and different countries, e-Volunteerism convened four knowledgeable practitioners from England, Northern Ireland, the USA, and Australia to look at the topic from various perspectives. In the UK, there has been university-based interest in offering actual courses to volunteers. In the US there have been various “portfolio” plans and discussions about national “certificates,” perhaps bestowed by a collaboration of national groups. The question is always whether or not volunteers want this sort of credential and/or are willing to do the work necessary to obtain it. Also, would it contribute to the quality of service delivery and who should bear the costs?