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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.7 Social inclusion through volunteering

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Support to young volunteers
  2. Community building
  3. Tackling societal challenges

Support to young volunteers

The overall ethos of the Finnish voluntary sector is that everyone can volunteer regardless of their level of experience, skills, or background. This means that there are no minimum requirements for individuals to be able to participate in voluntary activities. One of the challenges, which volunteering faces in Finland, is that many administrative roles, even in small voluntary associations, require a high level of skills in order to deal with the increasingly complex bureaucracy and administration. Many youth organisations provide training for their members, and especially for members that volunteer as instructors or leaders. These education and training opportunities are one form of support for young volunteers. 

The Finnish Red Cross provides volunteers with training, support, and work counselling. The Evangelical-Lutheran Church arranges courses on social skills for young volunteers. The politically and religiously non-affiliated Prometheus Camps Association organises camps where young people can discuss and form their own world views. Once they have completed the camp, they can participate in organising and planning camps. The Guides and Scouts of Finland trains volunteers by offering peer instructors, with consideration for each age group.

In addition, the support of the municipalities (see Glossary) for those involved in volunteering (training, grants) is significant, especially in bigger cities and towns.

The Citizen Forum has started a national JEP –development project in 2021, which aims to increase volunteering opportunities for young people under age 18 by developing approachable, inclusive and attractive activities together with young people and professionals. The main target group is especially volunteer activity coordinators in various organisations. The project will last until the year 2023.  

Almost all voluntary organisations provide insurance for their volunteers. The volunteer insurance system is well developed, easily available and relatively inexpensive. Some volunteering programmes might provide young volunteers with a little pocket money. The pocket money received by the volunteer cannot be regarded as a valid salary. Furthermore, the work performed by a volunteer cannot replace the basic functions the organisation delivers. In practice, the legal status of volunteers is ambiguous. For example, volunteers are sometimes regarded as employees, and the European voluntary service has been treated according to the taxation practices of the Employment Contracts Act. The taxation of voluntary work is subject to a number of different interpretations.

Community building

According to the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme 2020–2023, inclusion of young people will be supported in the implementation of youth programmes: "Young people’s mobility within the EU and in third countries will be promoted through projects of the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes. Finland will strive to strengthen the perspective of inclusion in the implementation of mobility programmes for young people. The objective during the new programme period will be that the programmes intended for young people will reach new target groups better, including young people belonging to different cultural minorities or with disabilities, young people of different genders and, for example, those who live outside growth centres. Programme participants will be encouraged to use inclusion support where applicable."

Tackling societal challenges

The National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme 2020–2023 also states, that young people’s climate change mitigation activities will be supported as Finland’s objective in international and European cooperation in the youth field: "The Flash Eurobarometer survey of 2019 indicates that 67% of young people find actions against climate change and environmental protection as the European Union’s most important objectives. Finland will strive to strengthen the role of youth work and cross-administrative cooperation in supporting young people in issues related to climate change. The objectives include making this a priority theme in the youth field during both Finland’s forthcoming Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers and Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council."