Activities and community based services provided by volunteers
Volunteering in all its forms is a characteristic of the developed societies. Motivating and including volunteers in different social activities is a serious resource the professional use of which leads to considerable social effect. In the last few years Tulip Foundation has supported a big number of NGO projects based on voluntary activities and encouraging volunteering in public benefit.

On 27 -28 April in Sofia a working meeting took place. The topic of the meeting was Activities and Services in the Community Provided by Volunteers. More that 50 organisations from all over the country expressed their willingness to take part in the meeting. The meeting was attended by representatives of 26 NGOs from different towns and cities - Lovech, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Gabrovo, Pleven, Gorna Oriahovitza, Silistra, Burgass, Doupnitza, Haskovo, Shoumen, Vidin, Sofia, etc. as well as representatives of the Bulgarian Center for Non-governmental Law and the Agency for Social Support.

During the meeting the participants presented different forms of work and involvement of volunteers in providing social support, social and administrative services. The activities include mentoring of children living in institutions, children at risk and children with special needs; helping elderly people and people who have difficulties performing their everyday routine activities; information and administrative services; home care; delivering books, organising various campaigns, celebrations and events; monitoring the work of the police; work with people adictions. Among the volunteers there are children and young people, university students, former beneficiaries of the organisation, parents and members of the family, active elderly people. Some of them are professionals or receive special training in order to do the voluntary activities others join general activities and events. In some cases the volunteers are working directly with the target group and in other cases they are helping with the organizational and administrative activities. The following issues were identified as major topics of discussion: attracting, training, motivation, supervision, management and efficient use of volunteers, standards of voluntary work, regulation of the relations NGO – volunteers – target group, professionalism of the voluntary work. The above mentioned topics were discusses from the view point that volunteers are not asking for anything for themselves – they offer help, professional support and services.

Partnership with local authorities and other organisations was unanimously identified as highly important for the sustainability and efficiency of the work of the participating organisations. Examples of good practices were shared of agreements with municipalities, hospitals and other local partners who provide working premises and meeting venues, transport for the volunteers etc. Some cases were presented in which municipal funds had been created in order to co-fund NGO activities, especially those realized with the participation of volunteers.

In the second day of the meeting the participants discussed various possibilities for cooperation and exchange of experience among them systematic exchange of information, working visits, trainings, etc. List of the organisations with a brief summary of their activities will be presented on the web site of Tulip Foundation ( Any organisation that wishes to be included in the list and to participate in future working meetings and exchange of experience is invited to fill out an information form and send it to Tulip Foundation by e-mail or ordinary mail.

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