Volunteers Denmark

Volunteers Denmark is a private non-profit institution whose objective is to promote an active citizenry. Volunteers Denmark will develop and test new methods and tools for how the public sector can work systematically and inter-disciplinarily with volunteers. The organization focuses on initiatives with nationwide potential. Volunteers Denmark cooperats with strong national partners such as the Danish Outdoor Council, Local Government Denmark, Danish Nature Agency, and the Danish Agency for Culture. The organization will build on the core experience the various volunteer organizations have developed, and it will adapt the methods to the municipalities’ reality and administration through a Municipality NGO leadership. This leadership will ensure that employees and volunteers work together towards common goals.

Need for new societal models

There are excellent reasons to develop new models for society that promote collaboration between the public and private sectors through active citizenry; it creates shared value, and there are only winners.

The volunteers get:

  • More time together with people, plus they become a part of a community in a local society.
  • Improved social and professional skills and a network.
  • The opportunity for real influence and thus to exercise democratic influence in a direct fashion.

The municipalities get:

  • Utilization of civil society’s resources.
  • Greater quality and breadth in carrying out responsibilities.
  • Improved municipalities’ service with regards to the common good.
  • The opportunity to give citizens a sense of ownership and responsibility.
  • A stronger lifeline to the local population.
  • Increased visibility of the municipalities’ institutions, volunteers who act as ambassadors.
  • Development of employees’ responsibilities and skills.

Citizens get:

  • A greater number of more exciting experiences.

Despite the fact that an active citizenry has a large potential, it is only the social sector that traditionally has worked with volunteers. Here the collaboration is characterized by maintaining a distance; the volunteers are not organized as a part of the public organization. Within other sectors the active citizenry is still at an initial stage. Isolated initiatives are being taken, but there remains a lack of development of methods and models to work systematically with volunteers, also methods to ensure the full potential of employees’ skills and the volunteers’ contributions by among other things utilizing a traditional management mentality in volunteer work. Core experience from the volunteer organizations must be developed further and methods adapted to the municipalities’ realities and administration.

Volunteers Denmark’s public utility mission will be achieved by developing new interaction between the public sector and citizens, where citizens are not only considered as users, but as partners and a resource to create welfare and fellowship – the active citizenry. It will be achieved by:

  • Developing and testing methods and tools that enable the public sector to work systematically and inter-disciplinarily with volunteers, while constantly focusing on the national potential and possible national initiatives.
  • Supporting a sharing of knowledge so those interested can easily find information and inspiration and share experience.
  • Creating debate among the public, politicians, volunteers, and employees.
  • Focusing efforts on welfare areas with large potential.

An example: Project Green Volunteers in Parks and Green Spaces

In the green sector there are a few examples of volunteerism, but there is a fundamental need for the development and outspread of methods and models to work systematically with volunteers, and to ensure their full potential by utilizing a traditional management mentality in volunteer work. In addition there is a need for coordination across sectors where relevant. There is a need for a systematic incorporation of biodiversity and to contribute to a basic understanding of nature and sustainable growth in society.

The project’s objective is to:

  • Develop, test, and disseminate models and methods that ensure a new, well-founded, and effective approach to working with an active citizenry and green volunteers.
  • Create greater biodiversity and more beautiful areas with a greater wealth of experience, and to spread knowledge about this.
  • Give outdoor life a new vitality and support greater responsibility, new communities, and a consciousness about a sustainable development of society.

A Green Volunteers Handbook will be developed. It will give municipalities and green organizations a concrete tool for working systematically with green volunteers in the development and care-taking of city parks and green spaces, thereby realizing the full potential of green volunteers, including across sectors.

The Green Volunteer Handbook will be developed through six trials (pilot projects) in three municipalities that will show its viability. It will contribute to the development of new societal models that focus on an active citizenry. The pilot projects will be designed on the basis of:

  • A municipality project catalog based on the municipalities.
  • A volunteer catalog based on the desires and interests of green volunteers.

The pilot projects will be implemented by the green volunteers in collaboration with the municipalities.

The project’s expected outcome is to have green volunteers spread out into the majority of Denmark’s municipalities. A determined effort at publicizing locally as well as nationally, starting with the pilot projects, will ensure the outcome. The Green Volunteer Handbook will play a central role in the publicizing. We will make certain that municipalities and citizens have easy, uncomplicated access to information on how to get started as a green volunteer and build a framework for the systematic sharing of experience.

A publicizing plan will be developed, where volunteers themselves will film the volunteer work on a regular basis and this will be presented digitally. An effort will be made to reach an agreement with TV2 Fri. A dialog-based website will be created. Furthermore, a national green volunteer network will be established with the involvement of the Danish Outdoor Council’s many associate organizations and municipalities’ environmental networks. Agreements will be reached with local media, libraries, Danish Outdoor Council’s local chapters, and local green organizations; a conference will be arranged as well.

There will also be a direct and systematic involvement of interested parties that creates a sense of ownership in relation to the individual municipalities as well as national organizations such as Local Government Denmark (KL), Danish Nature Agency, and 3F. The Danish Outdoor Council through its 92 associate organizations, including Municipalities Park and Nature Management, will ensure a solid anchoring to popular organizations having to do with nature. A close relationship with fields of research will also be established.

The project will be run by Volunteers Denmark and the Danish Outdoor Council.

Contact

Contact Volunteers Denmark – click here