COVOAD works to support its membership by facilitating planning and coordination efforts among response and recovery voluntary agencies. By working together before disasters strike, COVOAD member agencies are better positioned to provide more effective services and minimize duplication.
The core of COVOAD’s success is its commitment to facilitate and enhance what is known as the ‘4 Cs’: communication, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration (see Appendix A for more on ‘The Four Cs’).
The key activities of COVOAD, as with all VOADs, can be categorized into the following:
1. Planning: COVOAD should strive to have a comprehensive understanding of the key resources and capabilities of its members as well as a clear idea of the roles members will fill when a disaster strikes. COVOAD should also clearly articulate what its role is in an event. Planning activities include regular and annual meetings, outreach, and communication (updates, newsletters, website…).
2. Convening: In the event of a disaster, COVOAD should convene its members and other key stakeholders to share information, assess resources, identify needs, and develop a strategy to collectively respond to the disaster. COVOAD should coordinate with regional VOADs when appropriate.
3. Partnering: COVOAD should strive to develop partnerships with key entities to facilitate effective service delivery to those affected by disasters. This may include, but is not limited to, government emergency management agencies, other key government agencies (human services, health, elected officials), the private sector, and voluntary agencies.
4. Training: COVOADs should encourage participation in trainings and exercises among its membership through information sharing of training/exercise opportunities and facilitating engagement when appropriate.
It is important to note that COVOAD itself is not a provider of disaster and recovery services. Its role is to support its members so that they may be more effective in their efforts. Further, COVOAD has no authority over its membership and does not speak on behalf of individual members. While COVOAD may make requests of its membership in an effort to address needs, COVOAD does not have the authority to instruct members on how to utilize their resources or execute their operations. Participation in COVOAD and its collaborative efforts is strictly at the discretion of member agencies.