A municipal volunteering portal provides infrastructure and system solutions to increase volunteering among citizens and help institutions looking for volunteers reach members of civil society.
THE CITY AND NGOS COOPERATE
The "Warsaw Volunteers" project is implemented and financed by the City of Warsaw. It assumes comprehensive activities undertaken by the local government and its partners for the development of volunteering. The project introduces system solutions to increase the involvement of residents and to support volunteering organisers actively. Non-governmental organisations and institutions actively work together to implement the measures.
THE ONLINE PORTAL IS THE KNOWLEDGE BASE
The Municipal Volunteering Portal ochotnicy.waw.pl provides a platform where individuals can offer and search for volunteering opportunities all over Warsaw. In 2019, it had more than 130,000 users. It is a source of knowledge about volunteering organisations, training, and various other initiatives. The City of Warsaw organises social campaigns to promote the idea of volunteering and to encourage people to visit the portal, as well as to promote school volunteering. The city furthermore assigns places where senior citizens with no access to the internet can find volunteer opportunities. The local government provides different free training and supervision services for people working in the care and treatment sector, and volunteering organisers receive support such as free volunteer coordinator training. Meetings, conferences and events, organised to facilitate networking and the exchange of good practices (about 400 training and meetings per year).
ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR 130 INSTITUTIONS
The "Warsaw Volunteers” project is the first such action in Poland. It makes use of the local government's potential to introduce system solutions, e.g. in the field of financing the activities of municipal institutions or transferring grants to non-governmental organisations. The role of local government is not to organise volunteer work for the city, but to provide active and diverse support for thousands of NGOs and hundreds of institutions that engage volunteers in Warsaw. Comprehensive volunteer development programmes take place in municipal institutions like libraries, cultural centres, child care facilities, social welfare homes, and others, totalling at about 130 institutions per year, which are all provided with adequate funding. The project is an investment in culture, sport, education, social assistance, healthcare, and the development of civil society and the non-governmental sector on the whole.
The Warsaw volunteers project is a great opportunity to use the local government’s potential to stimulate and develop social activity of residents. We managed to find a way to support the activities of non-governmental organizations with coordinated actions and system solutions to open up municipal institutions to cooperation with residents.