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CAWA News: Managers of Volunteers Now Eligible for Certification

March 3, 2023, BJ Andersen

Until recently, a minimum of five years of work experience managing and supervising paid staff was an eligibility requirement for CAWA Certification. After receiving a request to revisit this requirement, however, the CAWA Certification Council has now expanded it to include managing and supervising volunteers, as well as paid staff. BJ Andersen shares her excitement and endorsement of this more inclusive revision.

As a member of The Association and the CAWA Certification Council, I am so pleased that we have recognized professional management of volunteers as valid criteria for meeting the prerequisites to sit for the CAWA exam. In the nonprofit sector, volunteer management is often undervalued, with job postings frequently seeking a volunteer to manage volunteers. I’m proud of The Association for not only leading the way in the animal welfare field, but in the nonprofit sector as well.

As someone who has been involved in animal welfare as both a volunteer manager of over 900 volunteers and an executive director, I am deeply aware of the importance of good volunteer management on the sustainability of our shelters and the quality of life for the animals that we care for, not to mention the skill and talent needed to manage volunteers.

Most of us in this field could not do what we do without the support of countless skilled volunteers. Having a CAWA-credentialled volunteer manager will demonstrate commitment to best practices in the industry and provide volunteers with a level of support and leadership that benefits everyone. Volunteers are engaged in work throughout animal shelters, from animal care to board service, and a manager with CAWA certification would have proven knowledge of all areas of shelter operation.

Do you have staff who now qualify for the CAWA credential? Please pass along information about becoming a CAWA.

Photo: Arizona Humane/Facebook

About BJ Andersen
BJ Andersen, CAWA, has been in the animal welfare field for 18 years. The first 17 were with Willamette Humane Society, where she was the Executive Director. At Willamette, she successfully negotiated a merger with Oregon Humane Society, where she is now the Director of Volunteer Engagement across both campuses. BJ lives on 40 acres in Scio, Oregon, with her wife and their menagerie of cats, dogs, horses, goats, sheep, and chickens. She loves gardening and travelling, and is grateful for the return of in-person Association conferences.

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