Voluntary Organizations Active In Disasters
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) is a coalition of the major national voluntary organizations in the United States that have made disaster-related work a priority.

NVOAD member agencies provide skilled direct services along the continuum from disaster prevention and preparation to response, recovery and mitigation.

The National VOAD was founded in 1970 in response to the challenges many disaster organizations experienced following Hurricane Camille, which hit the Gulf Coast in August, 1969.

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 by disasters.

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.

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