The Department of Rural and Community Development is the main government department responsible for volunteering in Ireland. The Department published Ireland’s first National Volunteering Strategy in December 2020. The strategy is aimed at the general population and runs from 2021 – 2025.
The definition of volunteering is set out in The White Paper Supporting Voluntary Activity (2000):
‘Volunteering is the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of society, local communities, and individuals outside the immediate family, the environment or other causes. Voluntary activities are undertaken of a person’s own free will, without payment.’
Volunteer Ireland is the national volunteer development organisation and a support body for all local Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services in Ireland. The key roles of Volunteer Ireland are:
- To promote and recognise volunteering in Ireland through campaigns
- To manage I-VOL, the national database of Irish volunteering opportunities and listings
- To support national volunteer involving organisations
- To support companies interested in volunteering
- To offer volunteer management services for large-scale public events and festivals
- To offer Student Abroad Service Learning Programmes for third level students
- To develop and support best practice in volunteering and Volunteer Centres.