I’m quite certain that many of us have thought about volunteering at one point in our lives. Nearly a billion people volunteer around the world on a yearly basis. If this number was actually representing citizens of a country, it would become the 2º largest country in the world after China (Salamon, Sokolowski, and Haddock, 2011). However, motivation can differ from one person to another. From being inspired by renowned people to the wish to meet new ones, travel or just because of the feeling of contributing altruistically to our communities.
I know for a fact how hard it can be to find time to volunteer and balance the chores of our ordinary lives. Nevertheless, volunteering seems to report enormous benefits: for the quality of our communities and those in need, for participants, for the organisations in which volunteers are deployed, but even greater to you, a potential volunteer. The correct choice could trigger connections within the community, meeting lifelong friends, acquiring new skills and even kicking off your career.
But what would you say if I told you that generally there is no way to measure in a systematic form any of all these breath-taking benefits and impacts of volunteering? Letting alone few industrialised countries, volunteering has not been tracked in official statistics and information is poor and scattered. Consequently, even the most basic pieces of information, such as the predominant age of volunteers, is unknown in most places.
Therefore, the Erasmus+ Project V-CALC’s main objective is to create a user-friendly digital tool for volunteer coordinators and people who supervise volunteers. This tool will help them calculate volunteer’s impact, to showcase how they’re making a difference and the benefits of their volunteering time. In addition, volunteer coordinators and supervisors will undergo interesting training on how to use these digital tools effectively. And guess what? This info will be a goldmine for policymakers at all levels, so they’ll know where to invest and support more and better volunteers.
Volunteering represents one of the clearest expressions of democracy, civic engagement, participation and institutional trust in Europe and around the globe. The V-CALC tool will highlight the importance of a sustainable and ethical approach to volunteering rooted in EU values.
Which Europe would you like to shape?
Therefore, jump into V-CALC culture, volunteer and tailor your own reality. We will be pleased to meet you!!
Enrique Martos Sánchez