Hundreds and thousands of volunteers across Europe have made, and continue to make, an incalculable and outstanding contribution to social cohesion. They bring a wealth of experience, skills, talents and abilities which contribute to the success of valuable projects, without which communities would be much poorer. But unfortunately this substantial contribution is often not recognised or valued.
And a lot of these skills and experiences developed through volunteering could be utilised for improving the employability of the volunteers, or for staff development. But this opportunity is scarcely used. Unfortunately work undertaken in NGOs is often seriously undervalued with the skills developed by volunteers regarded as virtually irrelevant in the world of business. So NGOs working with volunteers need to understand and speak the language of the business world, to be able to give qualified references for their volunteers and to open new pathways into employment or career opportunities for them.
8 NGOs from Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Malta and Bulgaria,, all working with volunteers formed the Grundtvig Learning Partnership “References for volunteers”. The partners have developed a European format as a basis for a professional reference letter for volunteers in NGOs. We have consulted with our colleagues in business and industry in all eight countries to ensure that the guidance we offer here is relevant. The product of this partnership has been the production of a European Guideline for NGOs working with volunteers on how to identify and document the skills, know-how and expertise of their volunteers in a manner which is understood, recognised and valued by local, national and European employers. The Guideline is available for free download from this website.
We hope that you find the Guideline and template both inspiring and useful to you in a very practical way. And we all wish to see the skills developed by volunteers recognised and valued more highly by the business world and society!
Guideline in english click here
příručka v češtině kliknete zde
Leitfaden auf Deutsch hier klicken
Hier finden Sie eine Kurzfassung zum Thema “Referenzen für Ehrenamtliche” hier klicken
Pentru a descarca ghidul "Referinte pentru voluntari" click aici
Elektronsko verzijo vodiča "Reference za prostovoljce" lahko prenesete tukaj
За да свалите Наръчника за препоръки за доброволци натиснете тук
Pro zkrácenou verzi návodu jak psát referencní dopisy pro dobrovolníky kliknete zde.
I decided to do a year of National Volunteers‘ Service because after ending my school career I wasn’t entirely sure which step to take next. Thus, I wanted to get some orientation in terms of study and job perspectives.
Doing voluntary work helped me a lot: I didn’t only gain a lot of social and working skills but also experienced which strengths and weaknesses I have, learned how to deal with a full-time job and to handle stressful situations. But what’s most important, this intense year made me realize what I would like to study and do as a professional. I can recommend volunteering to anybody who has just finished school and still feels uncertain about his or her way. It will change one’s view of the world.
Andreas Schrank, Germany
This website has been produced with the financial support of the European Union within the lifelong learning programme.