Volunteer Charter

This Charter sets out the 10 key principles for assuring legitimacy of volunteers.

This Charter expresses the need and demand for clear and unambiguous principles for assuring volunteer legitimacy. The key goal is to ensure good relations between volunteers and to ensure that other stakeholders achieve consensus on the validity of volunteer roles.

It’s important to state that the most common volunteer experience is not in a formal role and is centred in associational life. Volunteering is about building friendly relations, looking out for each other and coming together to do things with shared goals.

The 10 key principles
 

  • Any volunteer activity is a freely made choice of the individual. If there is any compulsion, threat of sanctions or force, then any such activity is not volunteering
     

  • Volunteers should receive no financial reward for their time however out of pocket expenses should be covered; no one should be prevented from volunteering due to their income
     

  • Effective structures should be put in place to support, train and develop volunteers and their collaboration with other volunteers
     

  • Volunteers should be able to carry out their duties in safe, secure and healthy environments that are free from harassment, intimidation, bullying, violence and discrimination
     

  • Volunteers should be given the opportunity to contribute to the development and monitoring of volunteering policies and procedures, including the need for policies that resolve any issues or conflicts that may arise
     

  • Volunteer roles should be designed and negotiated around the needs and interests of volunteers, involving organisations and wider stakeholders. Finding legitimacy through consensus depends on mutual trust and respect



What do we mean by volunteering?

The values that underpin this charter are:

  • recognising people as assets - not a commodity
     

  • building on people’s skills and experience
     

  • promoting reciprocity, mutual respect and trust
     

  • building and supporting strong social networks



The characteristics of volunteering are:
 

  • Mutual support/self-organising - where we meet our shared needs together in associational life.
     

  • Formal service - with agreed roles and responsibilities and management arrangements (the charter principles are especially relevant here).
     

  • Civic participation and campaigning - such as regeneration forums, environmental movements, and public service decision-making.
     

  • The principles of volunteering are that volunteer activity of any kind is undertaken with free will, is not for - payment and seeks community benefits.




This Charter will be used as:
 

  • A principles checklist for volunteer involvement in Regen Action
     

  • An agenda for negotiations about legitimacy, motivations, and non-discrimination
     

  • An aid for the design of volunteer roles
     

  • A tool for conflict resolution and addressing promotion of on-line volunteer opportunities