Top 11 Volunteer Coordinator Certifications
This article provides an overview of the best volunteer coordinator certifications available to help individuals become more effective in their roles.
Published 17 min read
Certifications are important for a volunteer coordinator in the job market as they provide evidence of specialized knowledge and skills that employers look for when hiring. Certifications demonstrate experience, expertise, and dedication to the field. They also often provide access to continuing education opportunities, which can help coordinators stay up-to-date on best practices and trends in the field. Additionally, certifications may open up career advancement opportunities, such as higher-paying positions or promotions. Finally, certifications may give volunteer coordinators an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs.
This article reviews some of the top certifications for Volunteer Coordinators and how they can contribute to a volunteer coordinator's career development.
What are Volunteer Coordinator Certifications?
Volunteer coordinator certification is a program designed to provide individuals with the training and knowledge necessary to effectively manage and coordinate volunteer programs. This certification provides volunteers with the skills and confidence to lead, manage, recruit, and retain volunteers in their organizations. It also helps them develop strategies for engaging volunteers, developing relationships with staff and other stakeholders, and coordinating events. The certification covers topics such as planning for volunteer recruitment, onboarding and retention; legal issues; communication techniques; risk management; budgeting; supervising volunteers; recognizing and rewarding volunteers’ contributions; working with diverse groups of people; understanding nonprofit organizations; and more. By obtaining this certification, individuals gain valuable knowledge on how to build successful volunteer programs that attract committed volunteers who can make a positive impact on their organization.
Pro Tip: When looking for a volunteer coordinator certification program, make sure it is accredited by the International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE). Accreditation will ensure that the program meets the highest standards in volunteer management and provides you with the most up-to-date training.
Related: What does a Volunteer Coordinator do?
Top 11 Volunteer Coordinator Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Volunteer Coordinators today.
1. Certified Volunteer Administrator (CVA)
Certified Volunteer Administrator (CVA) is a professional certification program offered by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of volunteerism and management.
The CVA program consists of a comprehensive examination that tests knowledge and skills related to volunteer management, including recruitment, training, supervision, evaluation, and recognition. The exam covers topics such as legal issues, risk management, financial management, marketing and public relations, technology use in volunteer programs, diversity and inclusion practices, and more. The CVA exam takes approximately four hours to complete.
To be eligible for the CVA certification program applicants must have a minimum of three years of full-time or equivalent part-time experience in paid or unpaid positions related to volunteerism/volunteer administration. In addition, applicants must meet all other requirements outlined in the CCVA’s application process.
The cost for the CVA certification program is $350 USD for members of CCVA or $500 USD for non-members.
2. Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP)
Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) is a professional credential that demonstrates a commitment to the nonprofit sector. It is awarded by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, an organization dedicated to strengthening the nonprofit sector through education, training, and certification.
The CNP program consists of three components: a written exam, an oral interview, and a portfolio review. The written exam tests knowledge of nonprofit management principles and practices. The oral interview assesses skills in communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and other areas relevant to nonprofit leadership. The portfolio review assesses experience in fundraising, grant writing, board development, volunteer management, and other areas relevant to nonprofit management.
The entire process takes approximately six months from start to finish. To get started on the path to becoming a CNP, applicants must first create an account with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance website and submit their application materials online.
The cost for the CNP program is $450 for members of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance or $550 for non-members. This fee covers all three components of the program: the written exam, oral interview, and portfolio review.
3. Certified Public Manager (CPM)
Certified Public Manager (CPM) is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively manage public sector organizations. It is offered by the National Certified Public Manager Consortium (NCPMC), which is comprised of state agencies and universities that are dedicated to promoting excellence in public management.
The CPM program typically takes between one and two years to complete. To get certified, applicants must complete an approved CPM program that includes courses in public administration, management theory, leadership development, budgeting and finance, personnel management, communication strategies, organizational behavior, ethics and law, technology applications in the public sector, and other topics related to managing a public organization.
The cost of obtaining a CPM certification varies by institution. Generally speaking, it costs around $2,000-$3,000 for the entire program. This cost may include tuition for coursework as well as any fees associated with taking exams or submitting paperwork for certification.
In addition to completing an approved CPM program and passing the required exams or assessments, applicants must also have at least three years of full-time professional experience in a managerial role in a public organization before they can be certified.
4. Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE)
Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) is a professional certification for fundraising professionals. It is the only globally recognized credential that verifies an individual's knowledge, skills, and abilities in fundraising management. The CFRE credential is awarded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) to individuals who have met a set of standards in education, fundraising experience, and demonstrated success in leading or managing successful fundraising programs.
It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete the application process and obtain the CFRE credential. To get certified, applicants must meet certain criteria such as having a minimum of five years of professional fundraising experience within the past 10 years; completing at least 75 hours of continuing education related to philanthropy; and passing an exam administered by AFP.
The cost for obtaining the CFRE credential varies depending on whether you are an AFP member or non-member. For members, it costs $350 USD plus applicable taxes; for non-members, it costs $450 USD plus applicable taxes. Additionally, there is a one-time application fee of $50 USD plus applicable taxes regardless of membership status.
5. Certified Volunteer Recruiter (CVR)
Certified Volunteer Recruiter (CVR) is an online certification program offered by the Points of Light Foundation. The CVR program provides volunteer managers and recruiters with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to effectively engage and recruit volunteers.
The CVR program consists of four modules: Introduction to Volunteer Engagement, Understanding Your Community, Recruitment Strategies and Tactics, and Retaining Volunteers. Each module includes interactive activities and quizzes that help participants learn the material. The entire course takes approximately 10 hours to complete.
To get certified as a CVR, you must first register for the program on the Points of Light website. You will then be given access to the four modules mentioned above. After completing all four modules and passing the final exam with a score of 80% or higher, you will receive your CVR certificate via email.
The cost for the Certified Volunteer Recruiter program is $99 USD per person.
6. Certified Volunteer Management Professional (CVMP)
Certified Volunteer Management Professional (CVMP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of volunteer management professionals. The CVMP is an internationally recognized credential that demonstrates a commitment to excellence in volunteer management. It is awarded by the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE).
The certification process involves completing a series of online courses, passing an exam, and submitting a portfolio demonstrating your experience in volunteer management. The program includes five core modules: Introduction to Volunteer Management, Strategic Planning for Volunteers, Recruitment and Retention of Volunteers, Supervision and Evaluation of Volunteers, and Risk Management for Volunteers. It typically takes about one year to complete the program.
In order to become certified as a CVMP, you must meet certain eligibility requirements including having at least two years of experience in volunteer management or related fields. You must also have completed at least 40 hours of approved training in volunteer management or related fields within the past three years.
The cost of becoming certified as a CVMP varies depending on whether you are an IAVE member or not. For non-members, the fee is $395 USD; for members it is $295 USD. This fee covers all course materials and exams required for certification.
7. Certificate in Volunteer Administration and Management (CVAM)
The Certificate in Volunteer Administration and Management (CVAM) is an online professional development program that provides the knowledge and skills to effectively manage volunteers. It is designed for those who are new to volunteer management, as well as experienced professionals looking to enhance their skills. The program consists of five modules and takes approximately 12-15 hours to complete.
The modules cover topics such as: volunteer recruitment, selection and placement; training and orientation; supervision; recognition; legal issues; risk management; technology for volunteer management; evaluation of volunteers and programs; working with diverse populations; and more.
To get the CVAM, you must register on the website of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE). The cost of registration is $150 USD. After registering, you will be given access to the course materials which include videos, readings, activities, quizzes, case studies, discussion boards and other resources. Once you have completed all five modules and passed the final exam with a score of 80% or higher, you will receive your certificate in Volunteer Administration and Management.
8. Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (CNLM)
The Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (CNLM) is a professional credential offered by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. It is designed to equip nonprofit professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to lead and manage successful organizations. The CNLM program consists of five core courses that cover topics such as financial management, fundraising, board governance, human resources, and program evaluation.
The CNLM program typically takes between 12-18 months to complete depending on the individual’s learning pace. To get the certificate, individuals must complete all five core courses plus two elective courses. The cost of the program varies depending on the institution offering it but generally ranges from $2,000-$3,000.
9. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification that recognizes an individual’s expertise in project management. It is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the practice of project management. The PMP credential is highly sought after and respected in the business world, as it demonstrates an individual's ability to manage complex projects on time and within budget.
It typically takes between 6-12 months of preparation to become PMP certified. This includes studying for and passing an exam, which consists of 200 multiple choice questions based on the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge). In order to be eligible for the exam, applicants must have either a secondary degree and at least three years of professional project management experience with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, or a four-year degree and at least three years of professional project management experience with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects.
In order to get your PMP certification you must first apply for it through the PMI website. Once your application has been approved you will need to pay the fee associated with taking the exam which is currently $405 for members of PMI or $555 for non-members. After registering for the exam you will then need to study using materials provided by PMI or other sources such as books or online courses. Finally, once you are ready you will take the exam at a testing center near you.
The cost associated with becoming PMP certified can vary depending on what type of resources you use to prepare for the exam. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from $800-$1,500 including application fees, study materials and test fees.
10. Advanced Certificate in Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Development
The Advanced Certificate in Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Development is a professional development program offered by the Association for Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (ALIVE). The program is designed to provide volunteer managers and coordinators with the skills and knowledge to effectively engage volunteers, build strong teams, and lead successful volunteer programs.
The course consists of three modules that cover topics such as: understanding the role of volunteers in an organization; developing effective recruitment strategies; creating meaningful engagement opportunities; building a culture of recognition; developing leadership skills for volunteers; and evaluating the impact of volunteerism. Each module includes online learning activities, group discussions, case studies, interactive exercises, and assessments.
The Advanced Certificate in Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Development takes approximately 6-8 months to complete. To get started, applicants must complete an application form on ALIVE’s website. Once accepted into the program, participants will be provided with access to all course materials and resources.
The cost for the Advanced Certificate in Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Development is $1,000 USD. This fee covers all course materials, access to online resources, mentorship support from experienced professionals in the field of volunteer management, and a certificate upon completion of the program.
11. Human Resources Certification Institute’s Professional in Human Resources (PHR/SPHR).
The Professional in Human Resources (PHR/SPHR) is a certification offered by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated mastery of the technical and operational aspects of HR management, including knowledge of federal and state laws. It is one of the most widely recognized and respected certifications in the HR field.
To get certified, you must have at least two years of professional experience in a human resources role, or four years if you are applying for the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation. You must also pass an exam administered by HRCI that covers topics such as staffing, compensation and benefits, employee relations, labor law compliance, and strategic planning.
The exam typically takes about three hours to complete. The cost of taking the exam varies depending on when it is taken; however, the average cost is around $400-$500 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with preparing for the exam or taking review courses.
Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your certification from HRCI within six to eight weeks. Once certified, you will need to recertify every three years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the exam.
Do You Really Need a Volunteer Coordinator Certificate?
The short answer is no. Having a volunteer coordinator certificate is not essential to becoming a successful volunteer coordinator, and many people have had great success without one. However, having a volunteer coordinator certificate may be beneficial in some situations. For example, if you are applying for a job as a volunteer coordinator, having the certificate may give you an edge over other applicants who do not have it. It can also provide evidence that you have made an effort to learn about the role of a volunteer coordinator and understand the specific skills needed to be successful in this position.
In addition, obtaining a certificate can demonstrate your commitment to continuing education and professional development in your field. Even if you already feel confident in your abilities as a volunteer coordinator, taking the time to obtain certification can help you stay up-to-date on best practices and new trends in the field. It can also be used as evidence of your dedication to continuously improving your knowledge and skillset.
Overall, whether or not you choose to pursue certification depends on your individual goals and situation. If you are already experienced in the field or do not plan on applying for jobs that require certification, then it may not be necessary for you. However, if you would like to gain an edge when applying for positions or demonstrate your commitment to professional development, then obtaining a certificate could be beneficial.
Related: Volunteer Coordinator Resume Examples
FAQs About Volunteer Coordinator Certifications
1. What is a Volunteer Coordinator Certification?
Answer: A Volunteer Coordinator Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual's specialized knowledge, experience, and skills in managing volunteer programs. It typically includes coursework, training, and assessments related to the management of volunteers, resources, and other aspects of volunteer engagement.
2. What are the requirements for becoming certified as a Volunteer Coordinator?
Answer: Generally speaking, individuals must have a minimum of two years' experience in volunteer coordination or management before they can apply for certification. Other requirements may include completing an approved course of study or passing an examination.
3. How long does it take to get certified as a Volunteer Coordinator?
Answer: Depending on the specific certification program requirements and the individual's level of experience, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to become fully certified.
4. What are the benefits of being certified as a Volunteer Coordinator?
Answer: Being certified provides individuals with both tangible and intangible benefits such as increased credibility and recognition within the field; networking opportunities; increased job prospects; access to specialized resources; and professional development opportunities.
5. Is there any cost associated with becoming certified as a Volunteer Coordinator?
Answer: Yes, most certification programs require payment of an application fee plus additional fees for classes or exams if required by the program.