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Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

National Voluntary Organizations Active in DisasterNational Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) is the forum where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle—preparation, response and recovery—to help disaster survivors and their communities.

Members of National VOAD form a coalition of nonprofit organizations that respond to disasters as part of their overall mission. National VOAD was founded in 1970 in response to the challenges many disaster organizations experienced following Hurricane Camille, which hit the Gulf Coast in August, 1969.

Prior to the founding of National VOAD, numerous organizations served disaster victims independently of one another. These included both government and the private, nonprofit sector. As a result, help came to the disaster victim haphazardly as various organizations assisted in specific ways. Unnecessary duplication of effort often occurred, while at the same time, other needs were not met. There was only limited availability of training for potential volunteers. Information for victims on services during disasters was woefully inadequate and communication among voluntary disaster agencies was very limited and coordination of services was negligible.

The seven founding organizations came together and committed to fostering the four C’s—communication, coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in order to better serve people impacted by disasters. Today, National VOAD is a leader and voice for the nonprofit organizations and volunteers that work in all phases of disaster—preparedness, response, relief, recovery, and mitigation. National VOAD is the primary point of contact for voluntary organization in the National Response Coordination Center (at FEMA headquarters) and is a signatory to the National Response Plan.

Learn more about National VOAD by visiting