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Volunteers’ Manifesto. 7 Demands for the Promotion of Volunteer Commitment in Austria.

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volunteers manifesto

Volunteers’ Manifesto

7 Demands for the Promotion of Volunteer Commitment in Austria


We, the non-profit organizations represented in the “Austrian National Committee for the International Year of Volunteers 2001”, have come together to author a common Volunteers’ Manifesto with the object of improving the framework conditions for volunteer commitment and protecting the interests of volunteers. We hereby call on the representatives of the National Council, the Federal Council and provincial parliaments, as well as on the social partners and the media to support this Volunteers’ Manifesto in their respective areas and to promote its implementation to the best of their ability.

We have identified common concerns for the promotion of volunteer commitment in Austria on the basis of the results of the eight task forces set up by the “Austrian National Committee”:

  • Volunteerism requires recognition
  • Volunteerism requires training
  • Volunteerism requires a legal basis
  • Volunteerism requires cooperation
  • Volunteerism requires platforms
  • Volunteerism requires support
  • Volunteerism requires publicity
austria needs volunteerism
Austria Needs Volunteerism
  • Voluntary commitment is lived solidarity.
  • Voluntary commitment is indispensable for our society, because it contributes to our care and our prosperity.
  • Voluntary commitment is priceless, because no one could pay the market price for it.
  • Voluntary commitment creates a sense of belonging and mutual trust.
  • It lives on free will, but needs a framework to ensure further growth.
volunteerism requires recognition
Volunteerism Requires Recognition
  • Federal decoration of honor for exceptional services for the public good
  • Nomination of the “Volunteer of the Year”
  • Volunteers’ Award to honor exemplary partnerships between NPOs and business enterprises
  • Certificate on voluntary activities
  • International exchange of volunteers
volunteerism requires training
Volunteerism Requires Training
  • Basic curriculum for basic and advanced training of volunteers
  • Curriculum for volunteers-management in NGOs
  • Standards and quality criteria for volunteer organizations and providers of volunteer training measures
  • Establishment of an Austria-wide “Volunteers Academy”
volunteerism requires a legal basis
Volunteerism Requires a Legal Basis
  • Constitutional recognition of volunteerism
  • Assignment of competency for general issues of volunteer commitment in the Federal Ministries Act
  • Federal law for the support of volunteerism
  • General accident and liability insurance for volunteers
  • Inclusion of experts from volunteer organizations in the further development of the laws governing associations
volunteerism requires cooperation
Volunteerism Requires Cooperation
  • Profitable partnerships with businesses and the public sector with the following benefits:
    • positive image transfer
    • PR effects
    • contributions to personnel development
    • effects on customer canvassing and loyalty
  • Cooperation with technical colleges, universities and schools
  • Qualitative and quantitative research projects
volunteerism requires platforms
Volunteerism Requires Platforms
  • “Austrian Council of Volunteers” as national interest group
  • Expansion of the “Citizens’ Offices for Young and Old” to volunteers exchanges
  • Setup of volunteer agencies as independent coordination and consulting centers
  • Information exchange and networking over the Internet
  • Project directories for students and youths at the volunteers website www.freiwilligenweb.at
volunteerism requires support
Volunteerism Requires Support
  • Tax breaks for contributions
  • Deductibility for the expenses of volunteers
  • Expense compensation and allowances for volunteers
  • Financial support
  • Uncomplicated access to EU funding and support
  • Consideration of voluntary engagement in posts and hiring in the public and private sectors
  • Bonus system for volunteer commitment at a communal level
volunteerism requires publicity
Volunteerism Requires Publicity
  • Permanent public relations work for volunteers:
    • Article (series) on related topics in national and regional media
    • Establishment of fixed contact persons in the media
    • Volunteers’ speakers in the political parties
  • Presentation of “best practices” on the volunteers website “www.freiwilligenweb.at”
  • Conventions to trigger new projects
  • Distribution and use of the volunteer’s handbook
  • Gaining support of public leaders