WVCA unofficially began in July 1969 when five county social service volunteer coordinators organized the first state conference on volunteerism, which was funded by the State Department of Health and Social Services. County social service departments were under a state mandate at the time to have volunteer coordinators. The group continued to grow and host state volunteer conferences called WVTI (Wisconsin Volunteer Training Institute) semi-annually and then annually. By 1997, 300 volunteer coordinators from a variety of nonprofit and government agencies, churches, and hospitals attended the spring conference. This was the largest attendance in conference history.
In 1973, at the Stevens Point conference, the conference planning group established an association called WAVSS (Wisconsin Association of Volunteer Social Services). They elected officers and wrote bylaws. Sixty-nine (69) coordinators representing 37 counties participated. Although the association’s name has changed over the years (1990 WHSVC (Wisconsin Human Service Volunteer Coordinators, 1998 WVCA), the mission is essentially unchanged. The statewide organization of managers of volunteers promotes volunteerism, offers training in volunteer management, and serves as a voice to advocate for state legislation on volunteer-related issues. WVCA filed “Articles of Incorporation” with the State of Wisconsin in 1990. Since Wisconsin has no state volunteer office to coordinate statewide volunteer-related initiatives, organizations like WVCA are key players in offering statewide volunteer management training and planning. WVCA offers individual and affiliate memberships. Affiliates are groups of volunteer managers that meet regularly in their geographical area. The affiliates are located throughout the state and run independently from WVCA.
WVCA coordinates the geographic rotation of the annual spring conference and oversees the conference planning committee, which is made up of WVCA members from the area hosting that year’s conference. The conference chairperson is appointed by the WVCA Board and reports to the conference liaison it at its quarterly meetings. The conference committee meets during the year to plan the conference according to WVCA policies and procedures. Committee members are usually authorized by their employers to attend the meetings and conduct corresponding work on company time and travel expense.