“Volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”
This quote from Sherry Anderson, a Canadian curler, highlights perfectly the importance and the need of volunteers in today’s society. Especially this year has shown us the necessity of volunteering and gathering people with common values and meaningful goals. Indeed, it has recently been published in the UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 that ‘volunteer groups often play an indispensable leadership role in the response, notably in reaching out to vulnerable people, and in getting to remote places. They can amplify responses.’
However, even though Sherry described perfectly the essence of being a volunteer, which is offering a service, this figure is now more recognised on an economic level. A little retribution is indeed essential for having volunteers that come from all the social classes of the society, as not everybody can afford to live a long-term volunteering experience.
Moreover, nowadays volunteers are more and more specialised and this is why volunteer management is vital for the third sector, as the more a volunteer gains competences, experiences and knowledge, the more NGOs can benefit from this figure.
Indeed, the motivation of those valuable persons is the key element to their engagement within Not-for-profit organisations and their commitment towards the community. Recognition of their contribution, acknowledgment of their investment can be ways to ensure it. Providing trainings, giving individual feedbacks and rewarding them are possible tools as well. But, above all, ensuring that their values remain aligned with those of the association they are volunteering in, prevails.
For instance, InterMediaKT, a Greek NGO located in Patras, is not only working with local volunteers for specific projects such as Open Dialogue Café, Patras Code Camp, but it is also hosting two ESC volunteers, Chloé and Sara, who recently arrived from France and Italy. These partnerships are a win-win situation either for the NGO and for the volunteers and this is why we keep promoting and putting efforts into these amazing opportunities.