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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.6 Quality assurance

Last update: 28 November 2023
Quality assurance tools

A number of tools have been developed to ensure quality development and assurance in regard to national (and international) volunteering schemes.

These include:

Instruments used to measure quality, e.g.

  • quality catalogues on the basis of quality criteria or standards
  • quality manuals
  • graphs and organisational charts to describe processes and cycles for quality assurance purposes
  • structured interviews with individual stakeholders
  • questionnaires to evaluate volunteering schemes to be completed by volunteers, organisations or representatives of places of assignment; objective: to measure the level of satisfation of individual stakeholders, or volunteers’ personal development
  • suitable online tools, e.g., by grenzenlos e.V. – Vereinigung internationaler Freiwilliger, an association of international volunteers, where volunteers can rate their placements, or the online self-evaluation tool by AGIAMONDO – Personal und Beratung für internationale Zusammenarbeit, an international cooperation consultancy, which enables organisations to self-monitor.

Communication platforms at various levels:

  • Regular feedback interviews between the volunteers and their place of assignment
  • Regular internal team meetings on certain topics
  • Internal as well as inter-organisational quality group meetings to promote peer support (self-organised),
  • Inter-organisational quality committees who, on behalf of the supporting institution, discuss certain quality issues and promote a dialogue with civil society
  • Internal as well as inter -organisational national and international training courses and workshops to develop a shared understanding of quality between partner organisations
  • Symposia aimed specifically at sending organisations (Entsendeorganisationen) or host organisations (Aufnahmeorganisationen) and places of assignment

Quality marks for volunteering schemes:

  • Quifd quality mark

    The process of obtaining the Quifd quality mark is based on quality principles and standards applicable to national and international volunteering schemes. The organisation behind the mark is Quifd, the agency for quality in volunteering schemes (Agentur für Qualität in Freiwilligendiensten).
  • RAL quality mark for international volunteering schemes

    The process of obtaining the quality mark is based largely on the dialogue-oriented QM system fid-Netzwerk internationalQM. It respects the applicable quality principles of the German quality assurance and labelling organisation RAL (Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung e.V.). The organisation behind the mark is RAL Gütegemeinschaft Internationaler Freiwilligendienst e.V., the RAL quality mark association for international volunteering schemes.

Quality processes to obtain a quality mark:

  • Organisation-internal quality assessments on the basis of voluntary self-regulation (fid-Netzwerk internationalQM)
  • External quality check/audit prior to the assignment of a quality label (RAL quality label “Gütezeichen Internationaler Freiwilligendienst”, Quifd quality label “Quifd-Qualitätssiegel”)
  • External consultants and auditors to assess the quality of the organisations, plus relevant basic and advanced training

Organisations offering volunteering schemes have developed their own quality standards, for instance

Youth Voluntary Services

Regulations on promoting youth voluntary services in accordance with the Act to Promote Youth Voluntary Services (Richtlinien zur Förderung der Jugendfreiwilligendienste nach dem Jugendfreiwilligendienstgesetz) apply to the youth voluntary services Voluntary Social Year (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr, FSJ) and Voluntary Ecological Year (Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr, FÖJ). They came into force on 11 April 2012 ((n. II.4.b. came into force on 1 September 2012) and stipulate that organisations offering FSJ placements must join a national tutoring group (Bundestutorat), which is part of the Federal Office of Family Affairs and Civil Society Functions (Bundesamt für Familie und zivilgesellschaftliche Aufgaben, BAFzA). This group serves as a central body for quality assurance and development.

Federal Volunteer Service

The regulations pertaining to the Federal Volunteer Service are known as the “framework regulations pertaining to training and guidance for the with particular reference to training courses and the educational staff used for this purpose” (Rahmenrichtlinie für die pädagogische Begleitung im Bundesfreiwilligendienst (BFD) unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Seminararbeit und des dabei eingesetzten pädagogischen Personals). They were adopted on 24 July 2013 and stipulate minimum standards and quality features of the training and guidance given to BFD volunteers, with specific reference to training courses and the educational staff used for this purpose.

Main government agencies and organisations engaged in quality assurance in national volunteering schemes:

  • Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) as source of funding
  • Federal Office of Family Affairs and Civil Society Functions (Bundesamt für Familie und zivilgesellschaftliche Aufgaben (BAFzA), especially in regard to the recognition of places of assignment in connection with the Federal Volunteer Service (Bundesfreiwilligendienst) and the youth voluntary services FSJ and FÖJ
  • Quifd, the agency for quality in volunteering schemes (Agentur für Qualität in Freiwilligendiensten)
  • IJAB – International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (Fachstelle für Internationale Jugendarbeit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V.), responsible for training courses, advisory services and publications relating to all international youth work formats, including national and international volunteering schemes

See also Administration and governance of youth volunteering > Main actors


To assure the high quality of weltwärts a number of quality instruments are in place. Returnees are requested to complete a comprehensive volunteer survey and evaluate their experience of the weltwärts programme.

In addition, all organisations sending volunteers abroad under weltwärts must seek approval from Engagement Global gGmbH. Applications are welcomed from non-profit organisations with a development focus. They are evaluated in terms of educational approach, non-profit character, financial strength and development orientation.

Since 2013 all weltwärts sending organisations have been obliged to join an existing quality association. They are also free to join other sending organisations in setting up their own quality association.

Finally, the sending organisations must submit to an external audit every two or three years. This is to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the quality catalogue (Qualitätskatalog) applicable to the development volunteer scheme in its capacity as a learning service (Lerndienst). The following bodies are authorised to audit sending organisations under the weltwärts programme:

  • RAL Gütegemeinschaft Internationaler Freiwilligendienst e.V. e;
  • Quifd – Agentur für Qualität in Freiwilligendiensten.

Organisations that participate only in the South-North component are exempt from the audit requirement.


kulturweit evaluates the quality of the programme in various ways, including regular surveys among volunteers and places of assignment. They are asked to provide feedback on their general impression of the assignment, whether the volunteers have developed as a result, and the goodness of fit between volunteer and place of assignment. The results are published in the kulturweit magazine. In 2018, 97% of places of assignment and 95% of volunteers indicated that they were (very) likely to recommend the scheme to others.

In addition, in 2014 and 2019 kulturweit conducted a follow-up survey among former volunteers to ask them for their retrospective assessment of the placement and the longer-term impacts their volunteering assignments may have had on them.

kulturweit was last certified in 2017 by Quifd, an agency for quality in volunteering schemes (Agentur für Qualität in Freiwilligendiensten) and certified for the fourth time. The Quifd quality standards relate, inter alia, to the selection of volunteers and places of assignment, the cooperation between the sending and partner organisations, the agreements signed by the volunteers, the organisation of the foreign placement, the underlying educational concept, the preparation offered prior to departure, debriefing activities, and so forth.

International Youth Voluntary Service (Internationaler Jugendfreiwilligendienst, IJFD)

In order to ensure the quality of the International Youth Volunteer Service, a statement from the Federal Foreign Office (AA) is obtained for each intended placement at the time of application.

In the interest of safeguarding the quality of the scheme, organisations offering IJFD placements must be affiliated with a central quality management body. These are:

Franco-German Volunteer Service (Deutsch-Französischer Freiwilligendienst)

A steering committee meets once a year to discuss the programme’s progress and improve its quality. The Franco-German Youth Office as the IJFD-implementing organisation is also certified by Quifd, an agency for quality in volunteering schemes (Agentur für Qualität in Freiwilligendiensten) and carries the Quifd quality mark.