Volunteering is the activity carried out of free will, whereby a person ofers his or her time, talent and energy for the benefit of the community without financial remuneration. Volunteers can be reimbursed for expenses incurred during the volunteering activity in which they are involved.
Four defining principles stand at the basis of any volunteering activity and set it apart from other similar activities (such as internship, student practice, etc.):
- Volunteering is an activity carried our for the benefit of the community / public benefit.
- Volunteering is an unpaid activity or an activity that is not carried out for financial gain, even if it entails reimbursement of some expenses incurred during or for the activity (transportation, materials, etc.).
- Volunteering is an activity carried out of free-will, without any constraints imposed.
- Volunteering is usually an activity carried out in an organised setting (affiliated to an organisation or an informal group), unlike spontaneous acts of giving.
Pro Vobis introduced in Romania the concept of “volunteer center” in 1997, as a result of external collaborations, becoming the first such center in the country with the financial support of the European Comission through the PHARE program. We promoted and supported the diseemination of this community mechanism in Romania through several projects, resources, training and consultancy sessions over the years.
Based on our vision, a volunteer center is the necessary interface and mechanism for the involvement of volunteers in the community, offering services to people interested to become volunteers, to organisations or institutions whishing to involved volunteers, working according to a set of minimum standards. A volunteer center recruits and trains volunteers, promotes available volunteering opportunities, recommends volunteers to other NGOs and institutions which request volunteers for their current openings, organises training sessions in the field of volunteer management, promotes the concept of volunteering and good-practice in the field of volunteer management, is involved in organising volunteer recognition events.
The volunteering movement in Romania
is supported by an inftrastructure based on:
- Legislation – In Romania, volunteering activities are regulated by a dedicated law – The Law of Volunteering (issuedin 2001 with ammendments added in 2001 and 2006). For more information please check www.voluntariat.ro (in Romanian only).
- Over 25 volunteer centers
- NGOs and institutions that involve volunteers, including INGOs active in the field of volunteering
- People involved or wishing to get involved as volunteers
- Dedicated large-scale volunteering programs (such as the European Voluntary Service)
- Private or public financing that explicitely supports initiatives in the field of volunteering (Erasmus+, CEE Trust, EEA Grants, etc.)
Some of the traditional events dedicated to volunteering in Romania:
- National Volunteering Week (event implemented by Pro Vobis each spring, since 2002)
- National Volunteer Gala and numerous local and regional galas
- International Volunteer Day (December 5th)
- International Volunteer Managers Day (November 5th)
Representative bodies in the field of volunteering: