Centrul Național de Resurse pentru Voluntariat

CiVi – Trained Coordinators – Involved Volunteers

In Romania there are 25 volunteer centers providing the community with similar services, but differently organized, in the field of volunteering. Having this fact as a starting point, Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center initiated and coordinated the CiVi project – “Trained Coordinators – Involved Volunteers” (“Coordonatori instruiți – Voluntari implicați”).

CVCN together with other 7 Romanian organizations have decided to merge their efforts and contribute to the efficiency, diversification and raising the quality of the programs they offer. This is how CiVi began, with volunteer centers in Bacău, Baia Mare,  Bistrița, Brașov, Iași, Craiova and with Pro Vobis – National Resource Center for Volunteering.

CiVi started from a series of positive ideas and with a substantial amount of trust in the fact that each volunteer center is valuable in it’s community and this value is worth deepening and expanded.

Our common conclusion is that the volunteer coordinator is the key to a successful volunteer program: if the coordinators are well trained and keep up with the dynamics of their field, the volunteers will be engaged, their needs satisfied and their development process will be supported by the coordinator, and all this contribute to reaching the desired impact in the community.

After analyzing the needs of our respective communities and organizations, we have prioritized our own training needs, and identified the fields of senior volunteering, corporate volunteering and facilitation of volunteer trainings. To increase our capacities, we have organized three learning mobilities:

  • Training on Senior Volunteering” delivered by Önkéntes Központ Alapítvány, Volunteering Hungary – Centre of Social Innovation in Budapesta,  Hungary, between the 13th and 16th of November, 2018, with the participation of 8 representatives from 8 volunteer centers;
  • Corporate Volunteering” delivered by Slovenska Filantropia, Lubliana, Slovenia between the 12th and the 16th of February, 2019, with the participation of 5 representatives of the partner volunteer centers;
  • Train the Trainers” delivered by SchipCon Limassol, in Palermo, Italiy, between the 8th and the 12th of July, 2019, with the participation of 4 representatives of the partner volunteer centers.

The methodology of the leaning activities was based on experiential learning, non-formal education methods, case studies and the sharing of good practice examples. The participants testimonials are proof of the intense, effective learning process:

Remus, Team for Youth, about the Training on Senior Volunteering: ‘‘ They [the seniors] have the capacity to offer real value to the activity through their experience (I reached the conclusion that most senior volunteers are wise people with a clear goal).. they are more empathetic and sensitive to the issues of the beneficiaries, but can also offer real feedback without getting lost in details”.

Corina, Pro Vobis, about the Corporate Volunteering Training:‘‘I had the opportunity in Slovenia to be part of an excellent practical training for the three corporate volunteering events I was about to coordinate. It was a kind of a step by step guide that we followed with the colleagues from the other Romanian volunteer centers. During the 5 training days, I took more than 45 pages of notes and not (only) because this is the way I am – I like to write the new information and settle the learning this way – but also because I recognised my professional interest in about 90% of the training content. This is not something that happens often. The fact that I had this opportunity through an Erasmus+ project only increases the joy of taking part in quality, meaningful projects.”

Gabriel, FSC, about the Training of Trainers:‘‘I had the opportunity to familiarize myself with new educational systems from Norway, Croatia or UK (…) systems focused on the individual not on a group. We will surely apply the methods we learned in training our volunteers.”

These are just a few of the participants thoughts, but gathering all the testimonials, we can conclude that during the 14 months of CiVi, we managed to:

  1. Develop the coordination competencies of 17 members of the volunteer centers teams, when it comes to implementing senior and corporate volunteering and volunteer training in general.
  2. Develop the strategic organizational capacity of the 8 partner volunteer centers in three of the services they offer to the community – promotion, development, training.
  3. Raising awareness in the seven local communities the partners belong to about the value of senior and corporate volunteering.

The results of the project are visible on different levels. The 17 participants in the mobilities are better equipped to involve employees and seniors in volunteering activities. The members of the partnership have benefited from solid organizational development that is also, hopefully, sustainable. The impact of the project has reached the local communities as well: during the 2019 National Volunteer Week edition, the organized events reached tens of adult and senior beneficiaries, developing new practices of quality involvement of this target group.

The CiVi project, „CiVi – Coordonatori instruiți – Voluntari implicați” is co-financed by the European Commission through Erasmus+ program, in the field of adult education.