European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

How do we get more young people in Europe to volunteer?

Until:31/12/2016

Give your ideas to Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Youth, on how to make it easier for young people to get involved through volunteering and other activities.

Sorry this consultation is now closed
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introduction

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Youth, wants to help more young people to engage with their communities through volunteering and other activities. He recently discussed the broad issues with a number of young people online and in person, and now he would like to hear from many more young people across Europe.

He wants to hear your ideas and opinions on how to make it easier for young people to get involved in their communities.

These will be used by him and his staff to influence policies and practices at European and national levels.

His discussions with young people, along with more formal research into this topic, has highlighted some of the things that discourage young people from getting involved in their communities through volunteering and other activities, including:

  • A lack of motivation and information about how to start volunteering,
  • Too few role models that young people can be inspired by,
  • Not enough information on the opportunities and projects that are available,
  • The costs of taking part can be too high,
  • Very little recognition of all the effort put in,
  • Little acceptance by potential employers of the new skills gained through getting involved.

We want your views on what should be done to reduce or remove these barriers, and any others that make it difficult for young people to engage in their communities.

Please take the time to go to each question and add your own thoughts and suggestions.

We look forward to reading what you have to say!

And please come back later to rate all of the proposals and help us to understand which are most important to you.

You can keep up to date with the progress of this consultation by liking our Facebook profile and following us on Twitter.

We will also keep you up to date via email if you enter your email address after you post an idea or opinion (this is voluntary – your post will be safely stored even if you decide not to give us your email address!)

Thanks for taking part!!

background

Volunteering across Europe

The latest research for the European Union Youth Report in 2015 shows that around one in four (25%) young people across the EU were involved in some kind of voluntary activity. However, the same research shows that the rates of involvement were very differences between countries, with the highest over 40% and the lowest around 10%.

The following graph shows the different levels by EU country.

The research also shows that as young people got older, fewer take part in any kind of voluntary activities. In 2014, across the EU, 29% of 15-19 year olds were active, but only 23% of 25-29 year olds.

The following graph shows the diversity of activities that young people undertook as volunteers, the most popular being related to charity, humanitarian and development aid projects, and activities related to education, training or sports:

Who is responsible for community engagement?

Most community engagement and volunteering takes place at a local level, organised by groups such as NGOs, community groups, clubs and associations, and by local authorities. The responsibility for policies and laws concerning community engagement and volunteering lies with the national governments of the 28 EU Member States. This responsibility can also be passed down to regional and local governments, depending on how the country is organised.

The European Commissioner for Youth and the European Commission can help Member States to make improvements by suggesting new policies, conducting research, running projects, and sharing good practice between the different countries. This is done in cooperation with the Member States through the EU Youth Strategy, which has a specific section on Voluntary Activities.

As well as this, the European Commission runs the international volunteering initiatives European Voluntary Service (EVS) (part of the Erasmus+ programme) and EU Aid Volunteers. It also helps to promote volunteering through the European Youth Portal and by giving funding through the Erasmus+ programme.

take part

Many thanks for all of your contributions to this question. These are currently being analysed and turned into proposals that you can rate from the above date – please come back then and rate all of the ideas! In the meantime, you can see all of the contributions that have been posted for this question.

all questions

1

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How can we inspire more young people like you to volunteer?

What should be done to motivate more young people like you to volunteer in your communities? How can we change young people's attitudes to make it more acceptable and attractive to volunteer? And who do you think should take responsibility to do it – young people themselves, schools, colleges, universities, NGOs, employers, local governments, national governments, the European Commission, etc?

2

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What is the best way to tell you about how you can volunteer in your community?

There are lots of different ways that you can volunteer in your community, and many organisations are looking for young people to get involved. How can we make it easier for you to find projects and organisations that could be of interest to you? What are the best ways to make you aware that this information exists?

3

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What should we do to make sure that you are properly recognised for your volunteering efforts?

Volunteering can be hard work and take up a lot your of time, but it is also a great way to learn new skills which can be useful when trying to get a job or a place at a college or university. How should we ensure that you are recognised for all of the effort you put in? And what needs to be done to ensure that companies and others fully understand and accept the new skills that young volunteers get?

4

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What else needs to be done to make it easier for you to start volunteering?

What else needs to be changed to make it easier for you and other young people to volunteer in your communities? For instance, can you afford to volunteer? Or does working or studying mean that you do not have enough time to volunteer? Are there issues with insurance, health or social security systems which make it difficult for to volunteer? Or anything else? Tell us!

give your opinion

Many thanks for all of your contributions to this question. These are currently being analysed and turned into proposals that you can rate from the above date – please come back then and rate all of the ideas! In the meantime, you can see all of the contributions that have been posted for this question.

1 How can we inspire more young people like you to volunteer?

What should be done to motivate more young people like you to volunteer in your communities? How can we change young people's attitudes to make it more acceptable and attractive to volunteer? And who do you think should take responsibility to do it – young people themselves, schools, colleges, universities, NGOs, employers, local governments, national governments, the European Commission, etc?

  • Ensure children from a young age have information at school about the benefits of volunteering

    Current rating: 4.4 / 5 285 votes
  • Promote real-life stories from volunteers

    Current rating: 4.3 / 5 176 votes
  • Provide incentives in the form of a prize and/or an award ceremony

    Current rating: 2.7 / 5 102 votes
  • Provide a wider variety of fun opportunities to choose from, both locally and further afield

    Current rating: 4.1 / 5 118 votes
  • Provide young people with the support and resources to lead their own informal volunteer projects

    Current rating: 4.4 / 5 108 votes
  • Make community building part of the school curriculum

    Current rating: 3.8 / 5 116 votes
  • Make voluntary work experiences a requirement for entering university, alongside secondary school diplomas

    Current rating: 2.4 / 5 104 votes
  • Make television series where the lead character is a volunteer

    Current rating: 2.2 / 5 93 votes
  • Involve celebrities in the promotion of volunteering

    Current rating: 2.5 / 5 91 votes
  • Make volunteer work experiences a requirement for jobs, just like qualifications

    Current rating: 2.6 / 5 115 votes
2 What is the best way to tell you about how you can volunteer in your community?

There are lots of different ways that you can volunteer in your community, and many organisations are looking for young people to get involved. How can we make it easier for you to find projects and organisations that could be of interest to you? What are the best ways to make you aware that this information exists?

  • Provide schools with resources and support to provide better information on the benefits of volunteering and on how to get involved

    Current rating: 4.8 / 5 96 votes
  • Use social media to share information on specific opportunities

    Current rating: 4.5 / 5 81 votes
  • Improve coordination between organisations offering volunteering opportunities and universities so that students can hear of opportunities that are relevant to their studies

    Current rating: 4.8 / 5 69 votes
  • Create attractive promotional materials and campaigns (e.g.TV campaigns, online campaigns, offline campaigns)

    Current rating: 4.1 / 5 42 votes
  • Create a social media app with information on opportunities to get involved in your local area and showing them on a virtual map

    Current rating: 4.5 / 5 51 votes
  • Improve the European Youth Portal so that it can be updated more easily

    Current rating: 4.1 / 5 47 votes
  • Invest in promoting the European Youth Portal so that it becomes the one place all volunteers and organisations turn to

    Current rating: 4.2 / 5 53 votes
  • Ensure there are posters on volunteering in every school classroom

    Current rating: 2.5 / 5 44 votes
  • Launch a massive "You can do it" campaign working with a number of local projects and presented in schools

    Current rating: 3.5 / 5 40 votes
  • Encourage parents and teachers to actively involve themselves in their communities

    Current rating: 4.3 / 5 49 votes
3 What should we do to make sure that you are properly recognised for your volunteering efforts?

Volunteering can be hard work and take up a lot your of time, but it is also a great way to learn new skills which can be useful when trying to get a job or a place at a college or university. How should we ensure that you are recognised for all of the effort you put in? And what needs to be done to ensure that companies and others fully understand and accept the new skills that young volunteers get?

  • Provide each volunteer with certificates showing the voluntary actions and skills acquired

    Current rating: 4.5 / 5 88 votes
  • Ensure that global employment policies recognise the skills acquired through volunteering

    Current rating: 4.8 / 5 72 votes
  • Provide education credits for voluntary work

    Current rating: 4.2 / 5 59 votes
  • Make it easier to get a job for young people who have volunteered

    Current rating: 4.5 / 5 54 votes
  • Make companies be public about their Corporate Social Responsibility actions

    Current rating: 4.2 / 5 42 votes
  • Communicate volunteer testimonials so that society understands and becomes aware of the vital role of volunteers

    Current rating: 4.1 / 5 44 votes
  • Ensure awareness of the Youthpass among employers

    Current rating: 4 / 5 51 votes
  • Provide ex-volunteers with quality references they can use when applying for jobs (e.g. a reference letter)

    Current rating: 4.7 / 5 73 votes
4 What else needs to be done to make it easier for you to start volunteering?

What else needs to be changed to make it easier for you and other young people to volunteer in your communities? For instance, can you afford to volunteer? Or does working or studying mean that you do not have enough time to volunteer? Are there issues with insurance, health or social security systems which make it difficult for to volunteer? Or anything else? Tell us!

  • Provide financial support to cover costs and waive social security and insurance fees of volunteers

    Current rating: 4.6 / 5 88 votes
  • Make it possible to apply for volunteering opportunities individually as if applying for a job - i.e. no need for a sending organisation

    Current rating: 4.1 / 5 69 votes
  • Create more short term opportunities which can also be applied for at short notice

    Current rating: 4.4 / 5 75 votes
  • Promote and provide support for young people from all parts of society

    Current rating: 4.7 / 5 59 votes
  • Support social services in helping socially excluded youth to get involved

    Current rating: 4.9 / 5 60 votes
  • Provide more opportunities for young people under 18 and extend the age limit up to 35

    Current rating: 4.7 / 5 96 votes
  • Call on employers and universities to be more flexible to fit around volunteering commitments

    Current rating: 4.6 / 5 59 votes
  • Allow friendship groups to volunteer on projects together

    Current rating: 3.6 / 5 57 votes
  • Link schools with local organisations needing volunteers

    Current rating: 4.6 / 5 69 votes
  • Ensure new NGOs also get a chance to receive funding for volunteering

    Current rating: 4.2 / 5 56 votes
  • Simplify the process (e.g. accreditation procedures) for organisations – that way organisations will be able to offer more volunteering opportunities

    No votes yet
  • Create standard agreements with the private sector (e.g. volunteering should give the person an advantage for tax rates or when applying for mortgages)

    No votes yet

feedback

This consultation is still taking place, so the results are not available yet. If you give us your email address after you post your idea or suggestion, then we will send you emails from time-to-time to keep you up to date. (If you want to stop receiving these emails, please contact us via the address in the Contact tab.)

You can also keep up-to-date with this consultation via our Facebook profile and our Twitter account using the hashtag #AskNavracsics.

This consultation process will finish on 31/12/2016, and as soon as the rating process finishes then the results will be automatically calculated and displayed for each question.

The proposals and their ratings will then be analysed to better understand what needs to be done and who is best placed to do it, for instance what needs to be done at European level, or what has is the responsibility of national governments to change.

It is planned that the Commissioner will announce the final results and how he plans to follow them up. The results and the plans for follow up will also be published here after the EU Youth Conference.

Contact

This consultation is being run by the Youth Policy unit of DG Education and Culture at the European Commission, on behalf of the European Commissioner for Youth, Tibor Navracsics.

If you have any questions about this consultation, or if you want to stop receiving emails from us, please contact us by email at: eac-eyp@ec.europa.eu

You can also contact us via our Facebook profile or our Twitter account @EuropeanYouthEU.