The Department of Rural and Community Development have published a ‘Call for Input’ on the development of a national volunteering strategy. The document poses a number of questions on the current state of volunteering in Ireland, the challenges faced by volunteers and organisations and how we can develop the future of volunteering. Answers to these questions will inform the development of a national volunteering strategy.

We encourage anyone with an interest in volunteering to read the document and submit their feedback by 14th February.

Why is it important to develop a National Volunteering Strategy?

Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services have been advocating for a national volunteering strategy for many years and this ‘Call for Input’ is the first step in this process. Volunteering in Ireland faces many challenges, such as changing demands from volunteers, demographic changes and lack of resourcing.  This is the chance for people who live and breathe volunteering everyday to have an impact on developing volunteering in Ireland.

How can I have my say?

The Department of Rural and Community Development are currently asking people to submit their thoughts on their ‘Call for Input’ paper. In the paper, they outline the current state of volunteering in Ireland and pose a number of questions about how volunteering in Ireland can be developed and how challenges can be addressed. We encourage anyone with an interest in volunteering to read the paper and make a submission by 14th February.

We know that some people may not have the time to make a detailed submission and address each question individually. We have gone through the ‘Call for Input’ paper and highlighted what we feel to be the most important questions. If you only have time to answer a few questions, we feel that the questions below are the most vital to a national volunteering strategy:

1 – Definition of volunteering (Question 1)

The paper highlights a number of definitions of volunteering and asks whether we should adopt one of these or consider a new definition. Having a solid and inclusive definition of volunteering is vital to guide a national volunteering strategy and provide clarity to both volunteers and organisations.

2 – Vision of volunteering (Question 3)

A proposed vision for the future of Irish volunteering is included in the paper. Do you agree with this vision or would you like to propose something else? This is your chance to think about where you would like volunteering in Ireland to be in 5, 10 or 20 years’ time.

3 – Barriers to volunteering (Question 38)

Ireland has a strong culture of volunteerism, however barriers to volunteering still exist. Do you agree with the barriers and proposed solutions outlined in the paper? Are there other barriers that need to be addressed?

The paper also proposes a number of strategic objectives to be included in a national volunteering strategy. Some of these are relevant to all and some of these are relevant to specific sectors. If you are short on time, we recommend you read the objectives and address those that fall under your area of expertise.

What is Volunteer Ireland doing?

Volunteer Ireland will be making a comprehensive submission to the ‘Call for Input’ paper. To inform our feedback, we will be holding regional consultations in the New Year in partnership with the network of Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services. We will also conduct an online survey of volunteers and organisations registered with the I-VOL database. The dates of the consultations and a link to the survey will be posted here shortly.