First manual on social volunteering published in Russia
The volunteering movement Danilovtsy has brought out a book entitled “Social volunteering: theory and practice”. According to the authors, this is the first attempt at publishing systematic knowledge on the subject and explains how people can use their time and energy in helping those in need. In it, experts, volunteers and coordinators with many years’ experience in the field share their knowledge, offer advice, discuss complex issues and suggest possible solutions to them.
The book’s authors are members of Danilovtsy, together with staff from the Mosvolunteer resource centre and include Lydia Alekseevskaya, founder and initial coordinator of a Danilovtsy volunteer group within a Russian Paediatric Clinical Hospital, Yuri Belanovsky, Head of Danilovtsy, Yulia Silenko, ex-Deputy Director of the Moscow State Budgetary Cultural Institution, and Vladimir Khromov, Director of the Union of Volunteer Organisations and Movements.
“Social volunteering these days is a phenomenon which is as much popular and modern as it is poorly studied. A person, having weighed up all the pros and cons, decides to take the plunge and become a volunteer, establishes a movement or charity, and then introduces corporate volunteering within their own company. Such people often refer to a lack of experienced teachers and specialist material which would have helped them in understanding how to act in a given situation”, said a representative from Danilovtsy.
According to Danilovtsy, there is a need to promote the value of volunteering and develop the concept at regional level, as well as explaining its value as an integral part of a civilised society. “Social volunteering is particularly important in times of crisis when funding for charity is limited. There is also a need to introduce new forms of volunteering to complement that already in place, i.e. in hospices, working with retired people, children etc”, they say.
The book contains helpful instructions, diagrams and even rules for volunteers. For example, it includes sections on how to conduct interviews with volunteers, how to set up volunteer groups and how to prevent burn-out. The authors also reflect on the nature and essence of social volunteering.
The purpose of the publication is to facilitate the professional development of all those who are involved in the social sector in one way or another. The authors are sure the manual will be of interest to business people, NGOs, volunteers keen on improving their skills, as well as anyone with a general interest in the subject.
Experts from the charity and NGO sectors clearly rate the manual very highly. Rustam Zakiev, Director of the Department of Communications and Social Projects at the “Rusal” company, would recommend this book to anyone wishing to fully develop the idea of volunteering. “It is written in a language anyone can understand like reading a novel, as well as being an extremely useful guide”, said Zakiev.
Irina Mersiyanova, Director of the Research Centre for Civil Society and the NGO sector at the National Research University’s Higher School of Economics, stated that, unlike a lot of material that’s been written on the subject, the book doesn’t in any way “romanticise voluntary work”. “The book differs from other works due to its serious and rather “down-to-earth” tone. In recognising the complexity and diversity of the inner and personal drive of volunteers, the authors argue that, when organising voluntary work, it is best to avoid external ideologically-driven motivation”, Mersiyanova added.
Natalya Dolina, CEO of the European Business Coaching Centre, said that the book not only enables the reader to increase their emotional motivation to help others, but also to develop a professional approach to volunteer work.
The book is now available via on-line bookshop sites.
Author: Yulia Vyatkina