Homeland Security and Emergency Services

Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

Since 1989, New York State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NYSVOAD) has provided a venue to plan and work together for not-for-profit agencies in the State of New York that meet needs of people affected by disasters. NYSVOAD grows out of the rationale that the best time to train and prepare for disaster response and become acquainted with your disaster response partners is before a disaster happens. We are part of a network of similar national, state, and local groups that originated after Hurricane Camille in 1969 because disaster service providers were concerned about duplication of efforts. In 1970, representatives from these organizations started meeting regularly as National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). Today there are 50 state-level VOADs, including the New York group, and a growing number of local VOADs at county and municipal levels

What We Do

NYSVOAD coordinates planning by the many voluntary agencies responding to a disaster so they provide more effective service with less duplication when a disaster strikes.

It serves members by:

  • Creating a forum that supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation inter-agency coordination and communication
  • Coordinating policy and planning among member organizations and serving as liaison, advocate, and state voice
  • Providing training that increases awareness and preparedness in each organization
  • Supporting legislation and measures of federal, state, and local agencies that reduce vulnerability of people and communities to disasters
  • Conducting seminars, meetings, conferences, training programs
  • Encouraging formation of local and regional VOADs

Following a disaster, NYSVOAD convenes its members and other agencies to discuss how they will work together cooperatively in the crisis.

NYSVOAD does not itself deliver services. Instead, its members independently meet relief and recovery needs within the cooperative framework the organization makes possible.

How to Join Us

Organizations and agencies interested in joining NYSVOAD must apply for must apply for membership and demonstrate that they can work within the context of NYSVOAD principles.

Each NYSVOAD member organization has one designated voting representatives, although broader participation is encouraged in committees and at meetings. Organizations and agencies not qualified for full membership may apply for (1) associate membership that is granted to state and local government emergency management and human services agencies or (2) affiliate membership business or professional associations.

NOTE: Your organization must have voluntary membership and constituencies, qualify as a not-for-profit group under Internal Revenue Service regulation 501©(3), and have a stated commitment of resources (personnel, funds, equipment) to meet needs of people affected by disaster without discrimination according to race, creed, gender, or age.


Peter Gudaitis, Chair