The topic of voluntary action has gained momentum in Europe over the past years. The European Year of Volunteering 2011 is the latest peek in the growing public awareness that our societies are better off with active citizens. The coming months will see manifold projects, activities and awareness raising campaigns to further promote, facilitate and develop voluntary action all over the continent and beyond.
This seems like a perfect moment to hold our breath and to ask ourselves: Quo vadis volunteering? Where are we and where should the journey go? What are the current trends in our sector and what is our vision for the future?
Many new features and new developments characterize the voluntary sector with the new information technologies playing an ever rising role in our daily lives; an increasing commercialization of international voluntary service placements; the appearance of business players in the non-profit world of volunteering; with changing patterns of engagement by volunteers; and with our societies facing an economic and financial crises that may lead to unprecedented transformations to our societies and to the way the state perceives the unpaid contribution of citizens to economy and society. These and other developments have led the volunteer sector to ask questions such as: Where are the boundaries of volunteering? What are its inviolable core concepts and principles that we need to defend? What are opportunities and threats of further unleashing the potential of voluntary action to make our societies the places we want to live in? How do we shape tomorrowâ€™s volunteering and how do we empower volunteers to shape tomorrowâ€™s society?
This conference will be organized in the framework of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 Tour Relay in Estonia (3-7 May 2011), the European Culture Capital 2011 Tallinn celebrations, and the Letâ€™s Do It Estoniaâ€™ campaign on May 7.