Association of Voluntary Service Organizations AVSO

The Association of Voluntary Service Organisations (AVSO), an international non-governmental organisation, is a European platform of non-profit organisations offering opportunities for long-term full-time international and/or national voluntary service. Many of AVSO’s member organisations are international networks and associations themselves … (about 1/2).

What is new? Activities; Volunteers; Members; Team; Links;
Address: AVSO, Rue Henri Stacquet 61, 1030 Brussels, Belgium;

About 2/2: … Based in Brussels, AVSO has become a representative and liaising body for its members in dealing with the European Commission, the European Parliament and other EU institutions and Brussels based organisations in general and particularly with regards to support for long-term voluntary service programmes. 

AVSO enhances co-operation and interchange of ideas and practices between its member organisations. Many member organisations co-operate closely in the running of projects and programmes.

AVSO’s Vision:

  • We strive to achieve recognition for voluntary service as a powerful tool for social change, its non-formal educational value; its value in combating discrimination and racism, building peace and solidarity and through inclusive voluntary service programmes its contribution to social cohesion and active ageing.
  • Every volunteer should be recognised for his/her contribution to society, the time and energy they invest in helping others.

AVSO’s Mission:

  • Through our lobbying and promotion activities, AVSO strives to achieve recognition for voluntary service at European level, and we empower our members to lobby their national and regional governments.
  • Through networking activities we aim at creating multiple opportunities for partnerships to help us achieve our objectives.

AVSO’s activities are based on three pillars:

  • 1. Lobbying and advocacy
  • 2. Support services to members
  • 3. Research

At AVSO we believe that the voluntary service sector is very data and research poor, and to lobby more effectively we need research-based evidence. Through our on-going research efforts and international partnerships we are increasing research in the field and using research to advocate for our objectives.

Member Organisations:

  • Member organisations have to be directly involved with voluntary service or the promotion of voluntary service in general. Dealing with volunteers, the organisations can at the same time be involved in environmental, social or educational issues. AVSO has currently 24 member organisations, which include not only local or national sending and hosting organisations but also international networks within the EU.


  • AVSO, formerly named the “Steering Group of Voluntary Service Organisations”, emerged from a conference on longer term voluntary service which took place in Bonn in December 1989. One of the aims of the conference was to define barriers to transnational voluntary service at the national and international level and to work in a common effort trying to remove these obstacles.  In 1993 the “Steering Group” set up a secretariat in Brussels. Since 1996 AVSO has been registered under Belgian law as an international non-governmental non-profit organisation. In order to promote voluntary service on European level, the office in Brussels represents a bridge between its member organisations and the European Parliament.

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