Coordinating volunteers is a key challenge in rapid-onset disasters. Successful disaster response depends on agencies and authorities integrating volunteers quickly into a coordinated strategy. It also depends on good volunteer management and productive collaborations. The challenges our communities face cannot be met by any one organization alone. Successful collaboration requires all participants to carry their share of the workload while trying to maintain their own distinct identities. We want to ensure that communities are prepared by providing efficient tools and resources and empowering them to become more involved in disaster response. There is a strong demand from communities for a more regionalized approach for volunteer management in disaster response; a strong call for clear leadership and guidance from the state.
The goal of volunteer programs is best served by the active participation of citizens in the community. To this end, Texas Citizen Corps accepts and encourages the involvement of volunteers at all levels of the disaster response and within all appropriate programs and activities. Collaborating organizations should be encouraged to assist in the creation of meaningful and productive roles in which volunteers might serve during a disaster and to assist in the recruitment of such volunteers, either trained or spontaneous, from the community.
Volunteering is one of the most pervasive activities in American society, one that has long been a historical tradition. Volunteers come from all age groups, educational backgrounds, income levels, genders, and types of employment. It is quite correct to say that in this society almost everyone can be looked upon as a potential volunteer.
According to the Pew Research Center, over half of the American population regularly becomes involved in some sort of volunteer activity during the course of the year. This amounts to millions of people donating time...