The volunteer center is a meeting point between the demand and supply of volunteering in a community. A VC (volunteer center) should be the place where every member of the community - individual, group or legal entity - feels that they can come to give something to the community in which they live in. It is precisely the point of intersection between the supply of skills and the willingness to involve people, the need for help of organizations, and the community for which these organizations work.
More technically, the volunteer center is the mechanism that facilitates voluntary involvement in the community by identifying and connecting existing needs in the community with the availability of skills, knowledge, energy and enthusiasm of community members.
What are the services offered by a Volunteer Center?
- Matching (matching the volunteer demand with the volunteer offer)
- Volunteer development
- Training and consulting
- Lobby and advocacy for volunteering
Beyond the essential function of matching (matching demand with supply), a volunteer center provides information about volunteering and must at least promote volunteering and its importance to the local community, in the press, companies willing to involve their employees in volunteer actions or willing to include volunteering in their CSR strategies, the academic community, etc. The first 3 functions are minimal for the volunteer center to fulfill its basic role.
The last 3 services on the list are related to the center's experience and maturity and usually develop over time, in direct connection with the community's response to the center's performance, which can become a resource center for other organizations that want to develop. volunteer programs, can provide training and advice to local volunteer coordinators and collaborate with local public authorities to develop and support volunteer activities.
Pro Vobis initiated and coordinated the National Network of Volunteer Centers in Romania - an informal structure that brought together over the years, in the period 2001-2013, 25 local volunteer centers, smaller or larger, either as organizations independently, or departments within other organizations. The 3 most active volunteer centers in this informal network are now, in 2022, together with Pro Vobis, founders of the Coalition for Volunteering.
As a national resource center for volunteering and with the support of European partners, Pro Vobis has implemented several projects to develop the concept of volunteer center, developing a typology of volunteer centers and a series of standards on the activity of the centers, which describe the main services that a center can offer, structured by their complexity.
For additional details about setting up and operating a volunteer center, we encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide you with a guide for setting up a volunteer center, but we can also guide you in the stage of strategic analysis of the opportunity to set up such a center.
You can find here the contact details of the organizations that currently host volunteer centers.