We all knew it, volunteers’ time is of great value. The time we dedicate to our projects and initiatives contributes to the development of Europe, both socially and economically. It also contributes to increase social capital or, in other words, it develops further cooperation among individuals and groups in the community. Moreover, a research carried out by the John Hopkins University measured it and announced that volunteers can contribute up to 5% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
The new regulation on ‘financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union’ has finally admitted this officially. It includes the possibility of giving economic value to the work of volunteers and including it as co-funding for a grant application under 60.000€. This means volunteers’ time can be given the value it deserves and be included in grant applications to European Institutions.
At AEGEE-Europe we very much welcome this change that will enable youth organizations to actually measure the contribution of its volunteers, therefore obtaining further support in their projects. We also consider this decision a significant step forward, in order to reach the goal of give the right value to voluntary activities. However, we are still far from the objective and we encourage European institutions and the Members’ States to proceed with next steps which will go toward a full appreciation of volunteer work, such as the recognition of the skills and competences which are acquired during the volunteer activities.
Written by Felipe González Santos
Policy Officer on Youth Participation of AEGEE-Europe