Programme for Support and Development of Long-Term Volunteering 2018-2030
During the last almost thirty years solid foundations for volunteering work have been laid in Poland. Since 1989, the symbolic, system transformation date, civil society organisations started to flourish, and a number of programmes supported by volunteers and NGOs has been carried out. A lot of valuable, volunteering experience has been gathered through citizens’ initiatives. Volunteer activities has started to play an important role in the work of the growing number of organisations and public institutions. Volunteering has become comprehensible and accessible for citizens who started to be interested in this form of activity.
Despite the progress achieved so far, there is still room for improvement when it comes to the level of involvement of Poles in volunteer work. The Programme’s planned activities concentrate on promotion and development of long-term volunteering. Studies demonstrate that it is the least popular form of volunteer activity in Poland. It should be emphasized, that supporting this kind of volunteering does not depreciate in any way the value of occasional or action-based volunteering, which also constitutes a very important area of active citizenship.
The Corps will in particular aim at raising the profile of volunteer activities, stimulating interest in volunteer work and encouraging citizens to engage in volunteering. Launching Solidarity Corps will also promote volunteering among those NGOs and public institutions that have made little or only occasional use of volunteer activities so far.
One of the main ideas behind the Programme is to support long-lasting and long-term relationships between volunteers and hosting organisations.
In the proposed model of promoting long-term volunteering, Solidarity Corps volunteer work is understood as informed, volunteer and free of charge activities carried out by:
- volunteers aged over 15 for a period of at least 12 months, and not less than 16 hours a month,
- volunteers with disabilities as well as volunteers aged under 15 and over 65 for a period of at least 6 months and not less than 6 hours a month.
The programme is implemented by the National Freedom Institute – Centre for Civil Society Development, a government agency dedicated to promoting the development of civil society as well as public benefit activities and volunteer work. More information on the NFI you can find here.
The programme's implementation scheme includes close cooperation with the network of partnering NGOs, both on the regional and local level. By 2030, the number of partners is estimated to reach 93.
All partnering organisations are selected through open calls.
The Solidarity Corps - a Programme for Support and Development of Long-Term Volunteering 2018-2030 has been adopted by the Government of Poland in October 2018.
The approx. budget of the Programme is 54 million PLN (12,6 million EUR)
The programme's main goals for 2030 are:
- number of Solidarity Corps volunteers: 36,000
- number of hosting organisations: 5,800
- number of NGO partners involved in the implementation network: 93
The strategic objective of the Programme is to promote the development of civil society by putting forward and implementing solutions which facilitate and encourage long-term engagement of citizens in volunteer work.
This will be delivered through:
- increasing the number of volunteers who pursue active citizenship on a systematic and long-term basis,
- development of various forms of volunteering characterised by high quality of activities provided by NGOs and public institutions,
- increasing the efficiency of volunteer coordinators’ activities in organisations working with volunteers,
- achieving positive change in the public perception of volunteering and greater awareness of the principles underlying volunteer work as well as greater engagement of citizens in volunteer activities.
The Programme will implement long-term solutions ensuring lasting support for the development of volunteering in Poland.
The Solidarity Corps programme is a comprehensive offer addressed to 4 main target groups:
1. Activities addressed to volunteers in order to prepare them for volunteer work and enable them to engage (in cooperation with organisations and institutions) in activities promoting active citizenship, carried out in various areas of social life.
2. Activities addressed to volunteer hosting organisations (NGOs and public institutions) in the field of initiating and implementing projects involving volunteers and shaping local policies that affect the volunteering.
3. Activities addressed to coordinators and managers of volunteer activities that build up their skills and competencies in the field of volunteer management.
4. Activities addressed to volunteer environment, promoting the idea of volunteering, raising public awareness with respect to the concept of volunteering, as well as offering solutions and tools facilitating social action in local communities.
The Solidarity Corps programme focuses on volunteers, both those that are already active and on the new recruits. Activities envisaged will aim at encouraging as many people as possible to join volunteering activities, in particular with respect to long-term volunteering, by means of achieving the programme’s goals. The Corps will encourage volunteers to take part in projects relating to socially important objectives, supporting people and communities experiencing exclusion, promote local communities as well as other initiatives relevant from the perspective of social interest. Volunteers joining the Corps will experience self-development in the broadest sense, have the opportunity to gain new (sometimes unique) competences and skills, as well as gain experiences laying outside of their daily functioning and environments (be it family or professional life).
Foundational training preparing for long-term volunteering as well as training for leaders of volunteer groups, meetings and debates aimed at developing and reinforcing volunteer skills, bonding activities for volunteers , e.g. summer camps and competitions.
A small grant scheme is envisaged for the most active volunteers. Under the scheme, volunteers will be able to apply for funds to finance projects they created themselves. A benefit (loyalty) programme is planned in order to reward volunteers for their activity. The organisers also plan to reward the most active volunteers with learning vouchers, as well providing training for pupils and teachers interested in developing school forms of volunteering and to provide an on-line tool for self-assessment of volunteer skills.
Increase in the number of volunteers by 12%
Number of volunteers prepared to volunteer work under Solidarity Corps: 40 000
Number of training sessions and meetings for volunteers: 2 700
Number of hours of volunteer time: 82 900 000
Volunteer coordinators play an important role, which does not get enough recognition, even though their work is vital to ensure proper cooperation with volunteers.
Obviously, the success of volunteer work, in particular long-term volunteering, depends on the motivation and the willingness of a given volunteer. But there is someting equally important: the engagement and preparedness of coordinators and the entities interested in cooperation with volunteers.
The Programme offers a comprehensive plan of support for volunteer coordinators, including but not limited to:
- professional training
- access to online tools and Solidarity Corps matching site
- networking opportunities
- participation in debates and seminars
- tutoring opportunities
Foundational training preparing for cooperation with volunteers, local thematic meetings devoted to volunteering (a serious of meetings and debates addressing topics that are important for local volunteering activities), training for experienced coordinators. It will be also possible to take part in internships in order to participate in the work of experienced organisations and have a look at what the process of management of volunteers looks like. The most efficient volunteer coordinators will be recognised. Also, guidance, consultations and resulting guidance regarding the organisation of volunteer activities will be provided.
The support for volunteer coordinators presented above will be addressed both to those people who are experienced and deal with volunteering at work (who are responsible for this area of work in an organisation or an institution) and those who are preparing to become a volunteer and are active in non-formal structures.
Number of coordinators taking part in training: 38 200
Number of training sessions conducted: 7 000
Number of organisations participating in the Programme and implementing the standards of cooperation with volunteers: 5 800
On top of the direct impact on the groups that are most interested in the offer: volunteers and volunteer coordinators, Solidarity Corps will also set out to influence volunteer environment and public opinion.
Volunteer environment term, as understood in the Programme, refers to the public opinion, as well as citizens, public institutions, business, and other public bodies with either direct or indirect influence on the volunteering at the local, regional and national level.
These target groups will be adressed through:
- Public education and information campaigns
- Promotion awereness raising campaigns
- Matching site
- Local partnering NGOs
Building local coalitions for volunteer development in local communities, foundational training – introduction of volunteer projects into the work of organisations, organising local volunteer actions for local communities. Volunteer starting packages (WOLPACKs) and promotional material facilitating the implementation of local volunteer activities will be developed. The organisors will set up working groups and teams consisting of, among others, representatives of NGOs supporting the Programme. A social campaign has been launched to encourage participation in Solidarity Corps. Moreover, a CRM system facilitating the management of volunteer activities, as well as a system addressed to the participants of the Programme, connecting volunteers and entities interested in the cooperation, will be developed.
Number of regular users of the system connecting volunteers with an organisation/institution: 30 000
Numbers of volunteers engaged in the organisation and implementation of local volunteer projects: 6 450
VOLUNTEER HOSTING ORGANISATIONS
The Volunteer Hosting Organisations include NGOs, public sector institutions and other organisations pursuing the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and employee volunteering.
The Programme will work with the organisations in order to prepare them for long-term volunteering. It will also make it possible to develop new areas of activities that have not been covered by volunteer work so far, and contribute to the increase in the number of volunteers in entities that have already cooperated with volunteers.
Volunteer Hosting Organisations may get involved in many ways:
- by offering new volunteer opportunities and/or inviting volunteers who posted their advertise within Solidarity Corps matching site,
- by receiving support and training for their previous volunteers, offered by the Programme.
Meetings encouraging to start cooperation with volunteers, foundational training – introduction of volunteering into the work of an organisation. The support for teachers – school volunteering organisers – will be provided by means of training sessions, meetings and a School Volunteering Forum. Also, sectoral (thematic) meetings with representatives of various volunteer groups, for instance in the fields of sport, social assistance, culture and support for the elderly, are envisaged. National Volunteering Forum – an annual conference on volunteering – will also be organised. The process of standardisation of activities and cooperation with volunteers will provide certification for organisations cooperating with volunteers.
Number of organisations and public institutions implementing the programme of long-term volunteering: 5 800
Number of training sessions for entities starting cooperation with volunteers: 2 000
Number of training participants: 20 000
Number of people engaged in building local and sectoral networks of cooperating volunteer coordinators: 465