The New Wave of Volunteering
4 September 2021
Volunteering becomes increasingly popular; people get involved for a variety of reasons
I communicate with many people every day and see that volunteering is becoming increasingly popular, accessible, and appealing. Most importantly, the pandemic and the year 2020 demonstrated how willing, engaged, and responsive people are towards volunteering projects. Some people follow their heart: they dedicate themselves to whatever resonates with them. For others it could be media presence, or something else. Evidently this subject is gaining more and more momentum nowadays — Irina Bova, Psychologist, Entrepreneur, Head of a Training Centre, "BOVACENTRE".
Russia’s volunteer movement has garnered vast experience to address the most complex problems
Hospice Charity Fund ‘Vera’ has been supporting hospices and gravely ill patients all over the country for 15 years. Over the time, we have garnered vast experience, including expertise in organizing volunteer assistance in hospices and palliative care departments. <...> The volunteers’ activity is becoming an integral part of providing help <...> and the volunteer teams that the fund works with, they provide help in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yaroslavl Region. These teams improve the quality of palliative care in general, which includes medical treatment and nursing, as well as non-medical care — Tatiana Bocharova, Head of Project "Assistance to Adult Institutions in Moscow", The Hospice Charity Fund "Vera".
Businesses are inconsistent about participation in volunteering despite allocated funds
Too much money from corporations is spent on addressing social problems, only to keep on addressing them sporadically, without much consideration of the input. It is time to stop doing it haphazardly. <…> 340–460 billion roubles <…> represents about half of the funds that are designated to address social problems in Russia. So, what is the story? Who should provide help? The government, the NGOs, the communities, and then there are businesses. This is how the public perceive it. Business has tried to do this, in part due to its discretion and inconsistency. But the funds available no longer allow us to participate [in the volunteer movement, Ed.] in such fragmentary manner — Kristina Bagrova, Founder, Strategy Director, You Social.
Russians may be suspicious of government volunteer initiatives
It is very gratifying that the volunteer movement is currently gaining momentum in Russia. In my opinion, what is more important, it is not a politicized movement; sadly, our people often protest any initiatives of the government and perceive them negatively because they somehow want to show their attitude towards some issues — Oleg Almakeev, Head of Public Relations, Social Work and Government Relations, Vostochny Port.
Some of the volunteers stop participating in the movement due to lack of motivation
Based on the results of the polls, we see the dismal statistics that the number of former volunteers is growing. In our opinion, this has to do with how volunteers are retained and motivated, and how volunteer activity is organized. This is where we are going to be working with volunteer organizers. <…> We also note how measures to support volunteers and NGOs are inadequate and inconsistent. <…> Our goal is to make this support systemic, <…> enabling all those who are engaged in volunteering to get some additional incentives. And, as we can see from the survey results, most Russians who volunteer do so on their own. Perhaps that is not the worst outcome, <...> but our goal is to create an opportunity for people to quickly access volunteer initiatives, possibly create smooth interface and bring them into teams — Nadezhda Kolodko, Deputy Chairman of the Board, Association of Volunteer Centers.
Russians are ready to volunteer; convenient infrastructure is being created for them to join the movement
One in four Russians is actually ready to participate in volunteer movement, but they do not know how. So, the overarching task for all organizers of volunteer work is to find a message that can get those people involved. The existing centres for social activity and volunteering are located mainly in large regional centres. We plan to expand that infrastructure so that we enable as many people as possible to receive truly important and useful information about volunteering, and to understand how they can apply their skills in volunteering — Nadezhda Kolodko, Deputy Chairman of the Board, Association of Volunteer Centers.
Businesses and society can create successful platforms for people to engage in volunteering
In the spring of 2019, led by the governor of Primorye Territory, Oleg Kozhemyako, and with the active support from the residents of Vrangel township <...>, we created the Vostochny Port Foundation to support social and environmental initiatives. Why environmental? <…> Much attention was drawn to transshipping coal in urban areas. The port is 12 kilometres away from the city of Nakhodka. So, we follow all the necessary requirements for sanitary protection zones. <...> In 2 years, we managed to create an effective feedback mechanism between Vrangel residents and the management of Vostochny Port. The Vostochny Port Foundation, as a platform for the dialogue between the company and the township residents, is there to identify the needs of the locals — Oleg Almakeev, Head of Public Relations, Social Work and Government Relations, Vostochny Port.