CAPACITY BUILDING IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR through the Development of Volunteer Programs at Social Institutions in the CEE Region – SoVol

Contract number: 16/1/KA204/22920


Programme: Erasmus +

Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Action: Strategic Partnerships

Duration of the project: 01. 09. 2016 – 31. 08. 2019


Coordinator: Önkéntes Központ Alapítvány, Hungary



Project partners:


  • Romania, ProVobis: Asociatia Pro Vobis - Centrul National de Resurse pentru Voluntariat, Cluj-Napoca,


  • Netherlands, Movisie - Kennis En Advies Voor Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling, , Utrecht


Our key goal is to strengthen the capacity of social work institutions to deliver good quality help to disadvantaged groups, such as those living in poverty, the elderly, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities in the CEE Region. More and more individuals find a meaningful reason in participating in civic actions. NGOs without the contribution of volunteers could not operate properly and at the same time through these opportunities people gain lots of skills, experiences and valuable connections. These programs have a huge impact on the local communities and overall on the countries social capital however most welfare institutions are still not open to cooperate with local citizens or volunteers.



The social institutions in Eastern and Central Europe were influenced by the communism very similarly. Civil Society in communist countries was obviously too weak to serve the purpose of mobilizing citizens for spontaneous voluntary action. Volunteering was under state control therefore it was quite frequently compulsory rather than voluntary. State-controlled organisation were essentially bureaucratic, tradition of volunteering was stopped or made compulsory - in these institutions, especially in the public ones. Staffs in these institution don´t fully understand the value of volunteering and don´t see that volunteering can bring a higher quality service provision. As a result of this on the other hand citizens even today conceive social institutions as rather closed, distant, out of their scope of influence. The project therefore needs to have an international dimension in order to be able on one side to motivate citizens on the other side to make social institution more open to local citizens through volunteering. It is important to spread the idea of active citizenship especially in these countries what’s more to have a broader influence on good quality volunteer management and good quality social service provision. We have very good examples in Europe of social institutions involving volunteers in an effective way. Therefore it is a significant aspect of the project to gather the knowhow from the Netherlands and build their expertise - gained from their advanced system - into the outputs thus creating a system in the CEE region that has already been proved to function.  The infrastructure, the competence and the experiences are often missing on how to improve services of social institutions in CEE region through the involvement of citizens who would be more than happy to help as volunteers. The project objectives are: to enhance the quality and relevance of the learning offer in the field of volunteer management in general and volunteer management in the social sector through the development of tailored training curricula.



The program wants to create learning and sharing experience for the participating organisations, to generate high quality learning materials to support citizens wanting to get involved into the lives of public social institutions. At the same time the project wants to enable and encourage social institutions to open and utilize the added value volunteers can bring.



The project aims to prepare the following outcomes:


A guidebook on how to set up volunteer programmes in social institutions will help all social institutions to start involve volunteers. It is a step by step guidebook that contains the key guidelines that have to be followed and provided for a successful volunteer program in any social institution.



A training curriculum on volunteer management for employees of social institutions, volunteer managers, mentors, which contains 3 different training curricula:

1. Sensitizing training for all employees and stakeholders of a social institution

2. Training for volunteer managers

3. Training for volunteer mentors



Separate training curriculum for volunteers of social institutions will be elaborated with a focus on clients such as elderly, children living in foster care, addicts, homeless people, disabled people and psychiatric patients.



Finally a handbook on measurement and communication of the impact of volunteering in social institutions will be prepared. This output aims to provide the social institutions with a practical handbook on how to measure the impact of volunteering and how to best communicate about volunteering in order to raise the public awareness on the value that volunteers bring to the social institutions services and to the overall society.



The project partners will elaborate a layout for each intellectual output based on the experiences gathered during the desk research period and the Dutch study visit. All the outputs will be tasted at the same time in a chosen social institution in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Poland and Croatia in the frame of pilot activity. After the pilot activity alterations of all outcomes will be finalized based on the conclusions of the pilots. On national and international multiplier events the outcomes will be presented and further the plans for further multiplication and sustainability of project results will be established. 


First project meeting: click here!


The first step of the Erasmus + project was to gather information on existing activities of social institutions in relation to volunteering in the partner countries which was done by a common questionnaire. This was an exploratory research, aiming to identify trends, not to generate representative results.

As a result of the research 316 social institutions responded in the 6 countries. Their answers were analysed.

Please click here to read the reports by country or open the data analysis (analysis summary) or the conclusions drawn from the 6 country reports.

Please read the findings of the research conducted in Hungary here!

Within the project the first versions of the intellectual outcomes will be piloted in Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia in a chosen pilot social institution. Click here to read about the pilot phase!


For more details on the SoVol project and the intellectual outcomes please visit the project's website: