Prior to the founding of National VOAD, numerous organizations served
disaster victims independently of one another.
These included both government and the private, nonprofit sector.
As a result, help came to the disaster victim haphazardly as various organizations assisted in specific ways.
Unnecessary duplication of effort often occurred, while at the same time, other needs were not met.
People who wanted to volunteer to help their neighbors affected by disaster were often frustrated by the variety of organizations in some areas of service and the total lack of opportunities to serve other needs.
Further, there was only limited availability of training for potential volunteers.
Information for victims on services during disasters was woefully inadequate.
Likewise, communication among voluntary disaster agencies was very limited and coordination of services was negligible. In fact, mechanisms for this were non-existent.
The seven founding organizations met on July 15, 1970 in the American Red Cross
headquarters to establish a unified response to national disasters,
committing to fostering the four C’s (communication, coordination,
collaboration, and cooperation) in order to better serve people impacted
In attendance were the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, Mennonite Disaster Service, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, the National Disaster Relief Office of the Roman Catholic Church and the American Red Cross.
Annual meetings were held from 1971 onwards, and National VOAD was established in 1975.
National VOAD is a leader and voice for the nonprofit organizations
and volunteers that work in all phases of disaster—preparedness,
response, relief, recovery, and mitigation.
National VOAD is the primary point of contact for voluntary organization in the National Response Coordination Center (at FEMA headquarters) and is a signatory to the National Response Plan.
In 2010 FEMA and National VOAD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each other to broaden the communication and coordination between FEMA and National VOAD’s members.