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YouthWiki

EACEA National Policies Platform
Croatia

Croatia

2. Voluntary Activities

2.4 Youth volunteering at national level

Last update: 5 February 2024
On this page
  1. National Programme for Youth Volunteering
  2. Funding
  3. Characteristics of youth volunteering
  4. Support to young volunteers
  5. Target groups

 

National Programme for Youth Volunteering

The National Youth Volunteering Programme, as a comprehensive programme designed specifically for the youth population and volunteering, does not exist.

However, since 2009 the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy (MLPSFSP) has been supporting a number of regional and local volunteer centres across the country, which represent the core infrastructure for the development of (youth) volunteering in Croatia.

 

Funding

MLPSFSP has been supporting the work of regional and local volunteer centres through one- or three-year grants since 2009. These grants are intended to enhance  the capacities of civil society organisations (volunteer centres) for the development of quality and sustainable volunteering programmes. Additionally, they aim to raise public awareness on the significance of volunteering for social and economic development in Croatia. A majority of the volunteering programmes prioritise young people as a primary target demographic. Furthermore, numerous projects emphasise the development of volunteering in primary and secondary schools.

The overview of the state’s financial support awarded to regional and local volunteer centres for the period 2009-2023 is presented in Table 1.

Table 1. State financial support awarded to regional and local volunteer centres for the 2009-2023 period

Year

Number of regional volunteer centres

Number of networks

Amount in EUR

Number of local volunteer centres

Amount in EUR

Total

2009

4

/

79 681.2749

/

 

79 681.2749

2010

4

/

79 681.2749

/

 

79 681.2749

2011

4

/

66 401.06242

/

 

66 401.06242

2012

4

/

66 401.06242

4

26 560.42497

92 961.48738

2013

4

/

103 585.6574

12

130 146.0823

233 731.7397

2014

4

/

103 585.6574

12

132 794.1567

236 379.8141

2015

4

/

122 845.6839

18

292 132.4037

414 978.0876

2016

4

/

122 845.6839

15

245 683.9309

368 529.6149

2017

4

/

122 845.6839

18

265 604.2497

388 449.9336

2018

4

/

84 462.15139

20

234 262.9482

318 725.0996

2019

4

1

118 326.6932

28

359 760.9562

478 087.6494

2020

4

1

132 802.1248

27

341 301.4608

474 103.5857

2021

4

1

132 722.8084

27

341 097.6176

473 820.4260

2022

4

1

132 722.8084

27

341 097.6176

473 820.4260

2023

4

1

123 000.0000

29

327 000.0000

450 000.0000

TOTAL

 

4 629 351.476

Source: Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy and Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy

The data indicate a small but steady increase in the number of supported volunteer centres, as well as the allocated funds, except in 2018, 2019, and 2023, when the state support declined.

Apart from state funding, European Union (EU) support is also available for volunteering centres and volunteering projects. For example, in 2013, the National Foundation for Civil Society Development announced a tender for EU funds in volunteering for the first time. Under the IPA Component IV, ’Human Resources Development’, Priority Axis 5, ‘Strengthening the role of civil society for better governance’, and measure 5.2, ‘Strengthening the Role of Civil Society Organisations for Socio-Economic Growth and Democracy Development’, a call for proposals for a grant scheme named ‘Supporting Contribution of CSOs Active in the Field of Volunteering to Strengthening of Economic and Social Cohesion’ was published. This scheme aimed to promote and empower inclusive volunteering in civil society. The call was implemented by the government’s Office for Cooperation with NGOs (OCNGOs) in cooperation with the MLPSFSP.  A total of HRK 6.5 million was allocated to nine projects by civil society organisations. In 2017, the OCNGOs awarded HRK 35 million in grants under the call ‘Support to the volunteering organisers for the improvement of volunteer management and the implementation of volunteering programmes’. This call was implemented within the European Social Fund, specifically the Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources 2014-2020, Priority Axis 4, Specific Goal 11.ii.1., ‘Developing capacities of civil society organisations, especially NGOs and social partners, and enhancing civil and social dialogue for better governance’.

 

Characteristics of young volunteers

There are no statistics specifically detailing the characteristics of young volunteers. Nevertheless, according to the Comparative Statistics on Volunteering 2017-2018, a total of 62 699 individuals volunteered in 2018, marking a 32% increase compared to 2017. Regarding age distribution among volunteers, the younger population, specifically those aged between 15 and 30, constitute 50.6% of the total number of volunteers, reflecting a 1.7% rise compared to 2017.

According to the Comparative Statistics on Volunteering 2019-2020, a total of 112 666 individuals volunteered. In 2019, there was 3% increase in the number of volunteers compared to 2018. However, in 2020, there was a 25% decrease in the number of volunteers compared to 2019, attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, according to the Comparative Statistics on Volunteering 2020-2021, a total of 107 547 individuals volunteered. In 2021, there was a 13% increase in the number of volunteers compared to the year before. The age distribution of volunteers remains consistent with previous years, with those aged between 18 and 30 being the most numerous age group (38%).

Finally, according to the Comparative Statistics on Volunteering 2021-2022, a total of 122 436 individuals volunteered. In 2022, there was a 7% increase in the number of volunteers compared to the year before. The trend of the most numerous age group continues, with individuals aged between 18 and 30 years constituting 34%. Additionally, the number of foreign volunteers continue to grow, reaching  2 079 individuals in 2022, which is 74% more than in 2021 (1 195). 

Table 2 illustrates that the total number of volunteers nearly tripled from 2012 to 2015. However, from 2016, there was a slight decline for two consecutive years. In 2018, there was a significant surge, with almost 25% more volunteers and 20% more volunteer hours compared to the previous year. The number of volunteers continued to grow in the following years,  except for 2020 during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the number of volunteers increased again, showing a 22% growth compared to 2020.

Table 2: Number of volunteers, volunteering hours and volunteer organisers in the period 2012 – 2020

 

Total number of volunteers

Total number of volunteer hours

Total number of volunteering organisers

2012

19 422

1 222 583

446

2013

29 235

1 652 965

671

2014

45 955

2 597 121

1 032

2015

52 208

2 943 902

1 367

2016

48 731

3 332 984

1 217

2017

47 372

2 603 676

1 164

2018

62 699

3 253 667

1 497

2019

64 280

3 043 954

1 502

2020

48 386

2 819 655

1 574

2021

59 161

3 181 557

1 607

2022

63 275

3 236 883.5

1 720

Source: Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy (Ministarstvo za demografiju, obitelj, mlade i socijalnu politiku) and Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy

The total number of volunteering hours grew almost continuously until 2017 when it dropped by 22%. In 2018, the number rose again but did not reach the total number of volunteer hours from 2016. After 2018, the number of volunteer hours declined again, especially in 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in 2021, the number of volunteer hours increased by 13%, and in 2022, it increased by 7%, compared to the year before.

Positive trends also include the total number of volunteer organisers, which was on a steady rise and tripled from 2012 to 2022. This indicates a growing number of volunteer organisers, which included more volunteers contributing slightly fewer volunteer hours in the last two years.

Volunteers are mostly Croatian citizens, while the share of foreigners in the total number of volunteers ranges between 2.0 and 2.5% from 2017 to 2021. However, this figure increased significantly in recent years. In 2021, 1 195 foreign individuals volunteered, and in 2022, this number rose to 2 079, constituting 3.3% of the total volunteers for that year.

In 2022, women were more likely to be volunteers (62%), while men participated, on average, with 38%. According to the same data, the largest share of volunteering was carried out in associations (89%), followed by institutions (7%), and other non-profit subjects (3%). The fewest volunteers were present in units of local and regional self-government, religious communities, foundations, and tourist communities (none of them exceeded 1%).

 

Support to young volunteers

According to the Volunteering Act, the volunteers have the right to reimbursement for expenses incurred during the volunteer work, such as the purchase of special clothing or equipment, travel costs, accommodation, meals, etc. These reimbursements are not considered as monetary awards or property gain.

The Comparative Statistics on Volunteering includes data on the total cost of volunteering, encompassing reimbursements for travel, accommodation, meals, education, and other volunteer-related expenses. The Comparative Statistics on Volunteering for 2021 and 2022 reports that in 2021, the total cost of was €2 161 863.3, while in 2022, the total cost of volunteering amounted to €2 748 985.8 (a 27% increase from the previous year).

Furthermore, volunteers have the right to receive benefits under the EU programme and international programmes related to the funding of volunteering programmes.

In addition to the reimbursement of expenses, volunteers have the right to receive appropriate training, support, and supervision.

 

Target groups

According to the ‘Principle of inclusive volunteering’ outlined in the Volunteering Act (Chapter 14, Paragraph 1), particular attention is to be given to volunteers from groups at risk of social exclusion. Although the article does not explicitly mention ‘socially excluded youth’ as a distinct group, it can be inferred that this principle of inclusive volunteering applies to youth as well as to all other age cohorts. The article does not provide more specific details beyond the phrase ‘socially excluded groups of population’.