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'This is volunteering!' report


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'This is volunteering!' report

  1. 1. September 2011 Pracownia Badań i Innowacji Społecznych „Stocznia” for the Good Network Foundation This is Volunteering The Code of Key Values of Volunteering: Research Report
  2. 2. Contents The background of the research The goals of the research Methodology Analysis cohorts Map of the research Faces of volunteering in Poland Senior volunteers Volunteering for the environment and animals Employee volunteering City activists Student volunteering E-volunteering The fuel of volunteering The joys and advantages of volunteering Difficulties and obstacles connected with volunteering The vision of volunteering Introduction Volunteering is being with others Volunteering is self-development Volunteering is youthfulness Volunteering is a better world The code of key values of volunteering 2
  3. 3. The background of the research
  4. 4. The background of the research The research has been conducted by the Unit for Social Innovation and Research – Shipyard, as part of the ‟Key Values of Volunteering” Campaingn – a section of the ‟Values and Activities of Volunteering and E‐volunteering” Project, carried out within the framework of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 by the Good Network Foundation in partnership with the Orange Foundation, the Academy for Development of Philanthropy in Polnad, the Polish Association of Educators and Animators Klanza, the Volunteering Development Foundation, the Centre for Thought of John Paul II. The aim of the campaign is to raise the public opinion's awareness on the subject of volunteering's value and significance, as well as to promote its various forms. The report becomes an inherent part of this key assumption by widening the definition of volunteering, showing the multitude of actions and activities included in the term.
  5. 5. The goals of the research • Getting to know the faces of volunteering in Poland, examining various forms of engagement and multiple kinds of activities. • Understanding the motivation, needs and expectations of the people who engage in voluteer activities. • Deepening knowledge about the advantages of participating in volunteering from the point of view of the people who work in community service. • Providing knowledge of the difficulties and problems connected with being engaged in volunteering. • Indicating and describing important values connected with the volunteers' social activity and collecting them in the Code of Values of Volunteering. • Formulating recommendations for optimal means of communication and promoting volunteering in the society.
  6. 6. Methodology With regard to the set goals, we used qualitative methodology for the research. • Size of sample: 20 Focus Group Interviews (FGI), groups of 5 to 18 persons; in total, we talked to 180 volunteers • Duration of each interview: around 120 minutes • Time: June – August2011 • Location: groups from all over Poland were included in the research* The respondents*: • Group discussions were held in groups internally differentiated in terms of age and sex. The groups were selected according to the kind of volunteer activity. • During the research we talked to volunteers engaged in the following types of activities: action volunteering, e-volunteering, hospice, school, student, sports, medical and competence volunteering. Volunteering for the disabled, protection of natural environment, ill children, children in institutions, and veterans. Volunteering among seniors, corporate employees, Amazons. Volunteering for city culture, informal education and local communities. * the list of groups included in the research is on the next page
  7. 7. • Centrum Inicjatyw Senioralnych, Poznań • E – wolontariat (online) • Fabryka Energii Społecznej, Warszawa • Fundacja Anny Dymnej Mimo Wszystko, Kraków • Mali Bracia Ubogich, Poznań • Młodzieżowe Centrum Informacji i Rozwoju, Wrocław • PROJEKTOR - wolontariat studencki Lublin i Poznań • Slot Art Festival, Lubiąż • Stowarzyszenie Olimpiady Specjalne Polska, Zakopane • Stowarzyszenie Zamojskie Centrum Wolontariatu, Zamość • Tatrzański Park Narodowy, Zakopane • Tłocznia, Warszawa • Wolontariat pracowniczy (grupa TP i Fundacja Orange, Fundacja Bankowa im. Leopolda Kronenberga,, Provident Polska) • Wolontariat szkolny (gimnazja, licea) Warszawa Groups included in the research 7
  8. 8. Map of the research FGD online FGD 8
  9. 9. Faces of volunteering in Poland
  10. 10. Senior volunteers Who are they? We did not ask Mrs Ludwika about her age. What matters is that she is young at heart and has more energy for action than many teenagers. Mrs Ludwika has always felt the need to help others. After her husband's death, she went for a trip to India. The poverty and misfortune of the locals, visible on every step, made her think about the injustice of the world, which does not only occur in distant India, but also in the closest surroundings. After coming back from the exotic trip, she started to fulfill her need to help in the Poznań office of the Little Brothers of the Poor Association. What do they do? Today Mrs Ludwika fulfils herself while helping in a thousand ways: she leads exercise classes for people her age (she can do the splits!), organises poetry evenings, stars in guest performances in hospices and social care centres, visits the lonely and ill. Last year she has been chosen Miss of the Third Age for the second time. She still travels and is going to Kenia in a few months. What do they say about volunteering? A volunteer is not just a lady companion – it is someone who really gets involved in another person's problems and helps any way they can. If they cannot do it alone, they seek support somewhere else. What makes this work so utterly splendid is working as a team, with other people. And we are not always acknowledged, despite all our hard work. There are some nasty old ladies. But the fact that I am helping somebody, that thanks to me the world is even a little bit better, always makes me feel chirpy after the ‘action’. 10
  11. 11. Who are they? Leszek studies Forestry, he loves the mountains and nature. He is 23 years old and can probably recognise every plant in a flash. He is writing his Master's Thesis on the dependencies in forests. He takes part in carriage driving competitions. He has never reffered to his activities for the nature as volunteering, he simply does what he loves. Thanks to the volunteering programme of the Tatra National Park he has the chance to make his dreams come true, gain valuable, practical experience and undergo his compulsory student training in an original way. What do they do? For a month, Leszek – along with other volunteers – lives in a camp of wooden houses in Kościeliska Valley in the outskirts of Zakopane. Every day he gets up at dawn, waits in the queue to the shower, then sets out to the mountains together with the others. It is the Tatra National Park volunteers who counted the goats and bears in the Polish Tatra Mountains. It is thanks to them that the tourists know how to get to the Murowaniec shetler. It is them who give lectures, clean culverts and go, where no one goes, apart from themselves, old foresters and wild animals. What do they say about volunteering? Do you consider yourselves volunteers? Not really, after all we do get a free place to sleep, we gain experience, meet great people and get free admittance to the park. This is not a usual student training, we do not do useless stuff, but actually learn a lot. Besides, the most important thing here is being close to nature and the satisfaction from doing something useful or it. 11 Volunteering for the environment and animals
  12. 12. Employee volunteering Who are they? Marta has worked in a corporation for 8 years. She is a busy wife and mother of two children. She hardly finds a moment for herself. But when the opportunity to gain funds to do something good arose in her company, she started thinking intensely until she and a her friend from the same department have written their project. Then a few other people wanted to join in. The experience of doing something socially useful and other than everyday work together with their colleagues allowed them to better get to know one another, become closer and really like one another. What do they do? They evaluated whom, where and how they could best help. Thanks to the funds donated by their employer and a fund-raising they organised themselves, they made a group of needy children happy. The joy and the smiles on the kids' faces were the best award for their effort. They keep inventing new projects, because volunteering is absorbing. What do they say about volunteering? It seemed easy at first: we have the money, we know what and for whom precisely it is worth spending. Even though some obstacles occured on the way – certificates were required and transport was difficult to organise – and for a while we felt that we are losing our enthusiasm, we knew that we had accepted great responsibility, the kids were waiting and we could not let go. But afterwards all we remembered was the children's smile and we also felt a great, great joy and – even though it might sound lofty – a joy that gave us wings and the willingness to to it again. 12
  13. 13. City activists Who are they? Jacek is a first-year student. He is interested in photography and loves his city – Warsaw. He spends almost all of his free time on activating the city's inhabitants. His adventure with volunteering arose from the feeling of injustice and the willingness og changing the reality that surrounded him for better. When he was in primary school, he notices that the student council did not function as it should have – it did not mind the students' business well enough. He decided to do something about it and his actions brought about new council elections. As a result, he became its president. Telling the story, Jacek is not sure, whether working in the student council can be considered volunteering. Today he rather does not call himself a volunteer, he prefers referring to himself as: a social activist, or social worker, an activist, because in his opinion volunteering is a term connected with many stereotypes. What do they do? They work in a group and spend a lot of time together. They invent projects themselves and try to gain funds for them. They activate young citizens of the capital city, encouraging them to join in and persuade them, that what their surroundings look like depends on tem. Their projects are mostly actions in the city space, enabling Warsaw's residents to know their city better and making them more willing to improve it. They try to influence people through culture in its different aspects: from street art actions to lectures given by experts and academic readers. What do they say about volunteering? Volunteering, as I understand it, is a non-compulsory activity in response to some needs. With benefits that are non-financial but equally significant. Volunteering is also a sort of a lifestyle because it is a very, very important part of my identity, like a badge. Unfortunately very often the organizations you volunteer for have no vision of you when you join them. They are not prepared and people quickly become discouraged. That is why I prefer being an activist and decide on my own what to do to being a volunteer, who only takes orders. 13
  14. 14. Student volunteering Who are they? Paweł has recently become a volunteer, he enrolled during last holidays – out of curiosity and because a lot of his friends from the same year group were going. They all study geography and what bring them most joy is travelling and infecting others with their passions. At first, Paweł's backyard buddies did not believe him when he told them he has become a volunteer. It did not match a DJ and graffiti artist, they said. What do they do? After his first volunteer experience, when he held travel workshops for kids in a primary school near Poznań, he contrived the idea that the workshops could regard to virtually everything. Why should he not take his old crew next time and show the kids what great and developing an activity doing graffiti can be. Thanks to the student volunteering programme they easily got the materials they needed (sprays, stencils), as well as the local authorities' permission to use a wall and the school council's to hold a series of street art classes. They have a feeling of doing something good not only for a group of pupils but also for their quarter's residents, all graffiti lovers and – most of all – for themselves. They really enjoy themselves and perfect their drawing skills. What do they say about volunteering? It seemed easy at first: we have the money, we know what and for whom precisely it is worth spending. Even though some obstacles occured on the way – certificates were required and transport was difficult to organise – and for a while we felt that we are losing our enthusiasm, we knew that we had accepted great responsibility, the kids were waiting and we could not let go. But afterwards all we remembered was the children's smile and we also felt a great, great joy and – even though it might sound lofty – a joy that gave us wings and the willingness to to it again. 14
  15. 15. E - volunteering Who are they? Martyna has two children, she lives in a small village and works in the secretariat of a local processing plant. A few years ago she and her future husband spent a few months searching a grandmother's birth certificate. She had no idea that browsing through old parish documents would be that absorbing. What do they do? Some people solve crosswords, other make preserves. As soon as she finds 2 or 3 hours of ftree time, Martyna goes to her room, connects with the internet and acts. She is one of the e-volunteers indexing parishes. It is thanks to them that many people can, by entering their name in the internet, have the chance to learn about their family's hisotry and find out who their ancestors were. What do they say about volunteering? Nationwide actions rarely reach my village, we are a bit remote from all of that. The internet lets me be closer to the world and its events and in addition I can help others. I also got the chance to meet a lot of people helping online, we are friends and sometimes talk on Skype. They told me that what I do is e-volunteering. The word is a bit strange and weird for some people in my surroundings, but I like it. 15
  16. 16. The fuel of volunteering
  17. 17. The joys and advantages of volunteering: introduction Voluntariness and unselfish action come from natural and common human needs: the need to belong, wanting to be useful or causative. What is particularly important – especially in the contemporary world, where ancient ties are broken and traditional communities, even the family, decay – is the aspiration for being needed, noticeable, important to someone. For having a part in the world. Thus, volunteering is valuable and for the benefit of not only the “receivers” but also the “givers”. Nothing brings more joy than being able to give something to someone.* * prof. Anna Giza’s expert comment
  18. 18. Fun Doing unusual things Developing interests Cultivating your passions Travelling SPENDING TIME IN AN ATTRACTIVE WAY Taking part in cultural events WIDENING HORIZONS Meeting interesting people Meeting people similar to me BEING WITH OTHERS Belonging Friendship Solidarity Bringing relief Bringing joy to others Doing good CHANGING THE WORLD FOR BETTER Being useful Resolving our own problems BOOSTING ONE'S SELF-ESTEEM Feeling young New energy Knowing yourself Proving yourself Facing challenges Gaining experience PROFESSIONA L BENEFITS Useful contacts The joys and advantages of volunteering
  19. 19. The joys of volunteering: volunteers' views I had a really nice surprise when my grandson said: ‘Do you travel?’ ‘I do.’ ‘And do you pait?’ ‘I do’ ‘And do you dance?’ ‘I do.’ ‘And are you a volunteer?' ‘I am.’ And he said: ‘You know what? Not only are you the wisest grandma in the whole world, but also the wisest human.’ I found this very uplifting. (a volunteer at the Little Brothers of the Poor Association) This work is also utterly splendid when you see you are in a team like that. It is not just me working thoroughly, there are others, too. There is no ‘every man for himself’, working separately – we complement one another. (a volunteer at the Zamość Volunteer Centre) A girl under my care finished high school, although none of her siblings did. So this is also a moment for me, that... WOW! I’M DOING SOMETHING IMPORTANT! (volunteer, school volunteering) What is most satisfactory and absorbing is not the gratitude of the people we help, but knowing that we did a large part of good job. (employee volunteer, the TP Group)
  20. 20. There are also negative aspects of being involved in volunteering. From the volunteers’ point of view, the most severe do not result from – as we might automatically think because of various stereotypes – the nature of the tasks fulfilled as part of volunteer work being hard and demanding dedication. Our interlocutors saw the most obstacles for the popularization of volunteering in the organizations not being prepared to work with them: from insufficient information, unattractive, narrow communication actions (in terms of the addressee, ways of reaching them, variety of message), to their inability to use the volunteers’ potential. Difficulties and obstacles connected with volunteering: introduction
  21. 21. Difficulties and obstacles connected with volunteering The impression of being used No respect for the work you do Little information on the possibilities of getting involved in actionsNo gratitute for the work done Being accused of selfishness Having to fulfill tasks one is not skilled for Doing things that are not interesting, not adjusted to one’s character, interests or skills Lack of acknowledgement from the environment Bearing additional costs Moments of doubt THE ORGANIZATIONS’ INSUFFICIENT PREPARATION FOR WORKING WITH VOLUNTEERSLACK OF RESPECT FOR VOLUNTEERS BARRIERS CONNECTED WITH TASKS THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO ACCEPT BAD ASSOCIATIONS IN PARTS OF SOCIETY
  22. 22. There are a lot of websites on the subject of volunteering but then it turns out, when you check the address, that some organizations are long gone and no- one updates their sites. It's all smoke and mirrors. (a volunteer at the Little Brothers of the Poor Association) We don't always get the credit, despite all our hard work. But it doesn't bother me. Because it does happen that we give somebody everything, our heart and soul, and aren't appreciated. (a volunteer at the Centre for Senior Initiatives) A volunteer can't pay extra for the job – they then cease being a voluteer and become a patron, a sponsor instead. (a volunteer of the PROJEKTOR Programme) Difficulties and obstacles connected with volunteering: volunteers' views
  23. 23. The vision of volunteering
  24. 24. The vision of volunteering: introduction The vision of voluteering is the way this question is thought of and understood by volunteers themselves – how they see it, what it is all about, why it is important for them and the world around them. The most common statements were gathered using a technique of generating a connotation map. The participants of group interviews fulfilled a workshop task in which they wrote down as many associations with the word „volunteering” as they could on post-it notes. They were asked to put down everything that came to their mind: feelings, emotions, key words for memories and associations, such as colours, book and movie titles. The following slides are a graphic illustration documenting the course of the task in all groups. In the next slide, most common associations have been gathered. Then we cathegorized them as keywords of a more general denotation. A bigger font is used for most common associations, a smaller one for the less common.
  25. 25. 25 Chmura skojarzeń ze słowem wolontariat
  26. 26. Volunteering is being with others 26
  27. 27. Volunteering is self-development 27
  28. 28. Volunteering is youthfulness 28
  29. 29. Volunteering is a better world 29
  30. 30. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering
  31. 31. The faith in a universal, mutual cordiality, the given and returning kindness, the belief in a natural, simply “human” kindness in all of us, that shows in the slightest, warm feelings towards others and the world as such are the true substance of volunteering. Its quintessence. It seems to be a part of human nature that when you help someone, you feel good about it. It's simply a feeling, that it's a good thing. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Kindness
  32. 32. We profess similar values and form a close group. Despite not all of us know each other very well, you can feel a bond, a family atmosphere. I think everyone here feels this way. Though being a volunteer does not always mean working in a group or concern specific people, regardless of its form it always becomes a source of feeling a bond with others, a community of goals, belonging to the group. For young people volunteering is often mostly an opportunity to meet other people, who are open to the world, while for older ones it is very often one of the few chances to get in touch with others. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Being with others
  33. 33. I prepare classes with full passion and I can see people's response. I like this very much. Because I once wanted to be a teacher but never became one. Now I can find fulfilment in performing a role I never have before. Volunteering is a unique field of unconstrained, free and absolutely voluntary activity. It is a chance to get involved in actions which are all about fulfilling the needs, aims and intentions of personal significance, development and giving voice to one's passions and beliefs. Nevertheless, those actions bring special satisfaction because their effects are making a positive change in the world. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Self-fulfilment
  34. 34. A motive force, steam to keep going and marvellous, neverending fuel that comes back to us as feedback – these are the metaphors most often used in conversations regarding volunteering. Involvement in things that matter, for people in need, is described as an energy infusion that rejuvenates, fills you up with energy and gives you wings. It makes volunteering a positive addiction. Something that gives you energy for everything else. The energy from the people, common actions, doing something interesting, it's the motive force for everyting. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Energy
  35. 35. I have a unique opportunity thanks to being here. I wouldn't have it anywhere else. Talking to the forest ranger is on a daily basis here – you can learn a lot of interesting things. They're experienced. These are things they won't teach me at university. Volunteering gives an opportunity to gain valuable experience, act in the fields that one is passionate about, get practice, recognition, competence and contacts that can turn into real advantages as interesting steps of one's professional career. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Career
  36. 36. There's a lot to be told about how much voluteering gives you, that it's such an ideology and beautiful notions, but it'a also helping me believe that I'm worth something. Because it's not only the other person getting something – I think I also derive from helping, gain something for myself. Volunteering is worthwhile because it brings real benefits not only to the “receivers”, bur also to the “givers”. Being able to give something to someone, being needed, noticeable, important to someone – are the desires felt by all of us and especially important in the contemporary world. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Boosting one's self-esteem
  37. 37. It also means responsibility. Not just a 'now I'm good, later – we'll see' craze. If you take on a duty, you are to persist with it. That's how it should be. Although in the common discourse about life responsibility is considered a problem, a burden, it takes a definitely positive meaning in the context of volunteering. Being responsible for doing good things, the opportunity to take part in vital events, dealing with complex issues on your own – this kind of responsibility: for yourself, for others and for the task, brings great satisfaction. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Responsibility
  38. 38. I had a lot of free time and the feeling that I wasn't using it in a good way. I figures it would be great to simply help others and develop in an unconventional way at the same time. Volunteering gives the opportunity to things that are unusual, new, sometimes just diametrically opposite to everyday routine. It puts us in new roles, gives a chance to know the world, opens our eyes to certain matters. It gives unusual satisfaciotn and the certainty, that being here and now, working, helping – I am doing something useful. It is a worthwhile time. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering A worthwhile time
  39. 39. It is the freedom to choose what I'm going to do with myself and my free time – and the freedom to choose what I'm going to do with those new people and what interesting I'm going to show them. It is one of the first values evoked in association to volunteering. Voluntariness means action coming from the pure willingness to engage in a cause, be useful, bring joy to others, bring relief, try one's ability to face the problems seen in the world. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering Voluntariness
  40. 40. It was great being a Miss for those children. I felt that for them I was someone adult and important, and it was a really nice feeling. Volunteering gives a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction, it brings the joy of doing good and using one's potential for wise, vital goals. The intensity and specific character of these feelings can only be known by those people, who have felt them at least once. Therefore volunteering means being among people that have something in common – they share a unique knowledge of the world. They know that even the smallest actions matter and doing something good we are useful and important – for other people, various issues and the world. The Code of Key Values of Volunteering The feeling of being someone special
  41. 41. Preparation: Kaja Dziarmakowska Julia Olesińska Expert consultant: Prof. Anna Giza-Poleszczuk Pracownia Badań i Innowacji Społecznych „Stocznia” for the Good Network Foundation The ‟Key Values of Volunteering” Campaign is carried out as part of the ‟Values and Activities of Volunteering and E‐volunteering” Project, co-funded by the European Union. The European Union bears no responsibility for actions and contents and contents included in the Project.