Agency for Volunteer Service (AVS), founded in 1970, is a non profit organization mainly financed by funds from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, The Community Chest of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, and public and private donations. With the vision to build a civil society and caring community, AVS is dedicated to playing a proactive and pivotal role in the promotion and development of sustainable volunteerism, and to develop partnership with all sectors of the community to provide value added and quality volunteer service.
AVS mobilizes and organizes volunteer service. It offers referral service for those who wish to volunteer and supports organizations requiring the service of volunteers. Interested individuals and organizations are welcome to register as a member of AVS Hong Kong Community Volunteers. To expand the scope of volunteer opportunities, AVS launches innovative and impactful volunteer programmes in partnership with different organizations. Mega events like WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, ITU Telecom World, “Share-to-Care” Volunteer Campaign, Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games Volunteer Programme and Hong Kong Transplant Sports Games were notable examples. To capitalize the talent and skills of volunteers to assist the disadvantaged, the Volunteer Talent Bank Specialized Service Teams provide quality volunteer service of photography, home safety, health care, hair-cutting, community tour guide, social inclusion, information technology, etc.
To strengthen volunteers’ competence, and to enhance the quality and effectiveness of volunteer service, AVS established the first Volunteer Training and Development Centre in Hong Kong in 2003 to deliver diversified training and professional consultancy for volunteers and volunteer-involving organizations as well. The “Volunteer Link” serves as a resource platform, and publications and audio-visual aids are produced for effective volunteer service management. In line with the implementation of the New Senior Secondary Curriculum, AVS launched the 4C Youth Volunteer Leadership Project since 2009 with a view to develop secondary students’ personal qualities, foster a healthy personality and civic awareness through volunteer training and service experience.
In 2011, AVS has drawn up the Hong Kong Volunteer Charter as a reference guide to volunteers and volunteer-involving organizations for promoting quality volunteer practice. With the Charter being the basis, the Hong Kong Institute of Volunteers was established in 2012, dedicated to advancing volunteerism and promoting excellence in volunteering.
AVS fosters volunteerism through a range of promotion, public education and volunteer recognition programmes. The Hong Kong Volunteer Award, Heroic Volunteer Award, Professional Volunteer Service Accreditation Programme, Leadership Bauhinia Volunteer Award and the International Volunteer Day Celebrations on the 5th December each year are organized to promote volunteer values and to raise public recognition on the volunteer contributions. The Hong Kong Volunteer Awardees Society founded in 2009 aimed to pool the strengths and experiences of the Award recipients offers a platform for idea exchange and experience sharing, spreading the spirit of volunteerism to serve the community.
In conjunction with representative organizations from different sectors, the Hong Kong Council of Volunteering was set up in 2004 as a cross-sectoral platform for exchange and collaboration to cultivate broader participation in volunteering and for member organizations working together to advance the development of volunteering.
Internationally, AVS is a cooperating organization of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) to promote the UNV Programme and to encourage the participation of professionals and youth in volunteering worldwide. AVS is also the International Association for Volunteer Effort Representative for Hong Kong, sending delegates to attend international and regional volunteer conferences for exchange and networking with volunteer organizations abroad.