At the first Volunteer Summit, held in 2001, the four main issues recognised by the volunteer participants as affecting the whole of the sector were: Training, Funding, Legal Protection and Recognition. It was Recognition, or rather the lack of it by governments and the community, which the volunteers felt was the one which needed the most attention. These findings provided the AEMVF with its first work program.
At the second Summit, held in 2005, the volunteers confirmed that the findings from the first Summit were still valid, and they added Partnerships and Recruitment and Retention. It is acknowledged that they must be dealt with by the organizations themselves and all levels of government, as well as by the AEMVF, which will seek to point the way to improving them, and they form the basis of the Strategic Plan which is detailed below. This plan will be updated in 2018.