In partnership with civilians – indirect volunteer recruitment

Classical non-governmental organisations (associations, foundations), representatives of grassroots initiatives and movements, can be partners of institutions in the cultural life of each settlement.

It is important for both non-governmental organisation and institutions to set common goals and to conclude a cooperation agreement based on these, which includes a description of the common tasks, commitments and responsibilities.

When implementing institutional volunteering, a cultural institution can choose between two solution options:

  1. When organising the recruitment of volunteers within its own competence.
  2. When recruiting volunteers in cooperation with a non-governmental organisation(s).

The following description seeks to provide guidance to institutions that are developing institutional volunteering, not on their own, but through associations and/or foundations.

Tasks of the institution (as initiator of cooperation):

  • Searching for potential non-governmental organisations (partners) based on certain aspects: scope of activities, number of members, number of volunteers, scope of competence, operational stability, budget, professional implementation;
  • Discussing the intention of partnership, exploring possible forms of cooperation and solutions;
  • Identifying common interests, mutual advantages and benefits;
  • Preparation and signing of the cooperation agreement taking into account the main content elements:
    – subject of the agreement
    – relations and responsibilities between the parties
    – Joint undertakings of the parties
    – Professional ans organisational co-ordination, communication and marketing responsibilities of the institution and the Partner Organisation
    – What resources the Partner Organisation receives to implement the volunteer programme
    – Accounting of expenses of the Partner Organisation, clarification of budgetary issues
    – Termination of the Cooperation Agreement
    – Extraordinary termination by a partner organization
    – Extraordinary termination by the Institution
    – Type and jurisdiction of disputes
    – Closing provisions: possibility of revision and amendment, frequency, designation of contact persons.
  • Starting and continuing practical cooperation:
    – Developing an annual work plan with a time schedule, preparation/training for the implementation of the volunteer programme, maintaining motivation
    – External, internal communication and marketing of the volunteer programme
    – Reimbursement of expenses
    – Recognition, reward
  • Monitoring and mutual evaluation of the volunteer programme, presentation of common results, pointing out possible mistakes and shortcomings, formulation of suggestions for solutions.


Professional workshops for country house volunteer guides to enhance the visibility of the Hungarian country house network:

One of the most pressing problems of the Hungarian country house maintainers (especially the municipalities of smaller settlements and villages) is to ensure the conditions for visitation. The solution is, with very limited possibilities, that there will be a local patriot in every settlement (e.g.: a retired teacher) who is willing to volunteer their free time to receive and guide the arriving guests. However, in addition to good intentions, it is essential to acquire certain basic skills that will enable them to perform their volunteering task in an appropriate, professional manner.
The Country House Association has developed a theme for the creation of professional workshops which, by its implementation in the region, will equip those involved with the knowledge they need to receive visitors (ethnographers, museologists, communications experts, etc.). The task of the volunteer tour guide is to present the building, interior, permanent and temporary exhibitions of the country house (local history collection, village house, etc.) to the individual or group visitors interested in the local history of a given settlement.

The target groups of the professional workshops are primarily the local patriotic group of retired intellectuals of the local society, as well as the adults with free leisure-time, who are committed to the goal and have at least a secondary education.

Number of participants: 12-15 people / workshop / region

Number of workshops by region: 3 × 8 hours; i.e. 7 regions × 24 hours, in total 168 hours.

The organisers and lecturers of the professional workshops are the members of the Country House Association (ethnographers, museologists, public education specialists), the staff of the Open-Air Ethnographic Museum of Szentendre and the staff of the county museum organisations within the regions.


There are a number of organizations cooperating with Friendships Groups. Although their responsibilities and activities are not the same as those of volunteers – simply because of a fundamental difference in principle (volunteers support their organisation with their time, while friendship groups usually support their organisation financially), we highlight an example of good cooperation between a Friendship Group and an institution. The case of the Danube Museum Friendship Group Association and the Danube Museum, established in 2012, is a good example of partnership cooperation, as the Association assists in collecting, researching, publishing and releasing of the material and written documents of the Danube Museum, while also supports the museum’s professional and public relations activities.
At the same time, the Association has been running the Danube Museum’s volunteer programme since 2013. Approximately 20 active volunteers participate in the preparation and conducting of events with the museum and in the receiving of visitors. Their volunteers planned and realise birthday programmes. The training of volunteers is carried out jointly with the museum staff. Application for the volunteer programme is possible by completing the application form. Volunteers can find detailed information in the Association’s Volunteer Manual, which provides a description of the museum, volunteer opportunities, detailed information on the volunteer programme, courses and trainings, volunteer expectations, and general information. By also engaging in the educational activities of the association, their volunteers assist the museum educators of the Danube Museum in preparing and holding museum lessons and activities. They also organise professional trainings for teachers and museum educators on demand and where possible, and assist in the development of professional, methodological (environmental education, museum pedagogy) materials upon request.


Volunteer recruitment directly at the institution Volunteer recruitment through an non-governmental organisation
1.       Volunteers are primarily connected and committed to the institution.

2.       The institution can consult directly with the volunteer, without a mediator (and thus no possibility of misunderstanding).

3.       The institution considers volunteers more valuable and present (planning more securely with them from budgetary and other aspects).

1.       When starting a programme, the workload is minimal (a large part of recruitment, selection, introductory training can be undertaken by the non-governmental organisation).

2.       There is less of an administrative burden (though it is not completely transferable).

3.       It is less costly for a non-governmental organisation to assist in advertising, training and other processes.

This article based on the following document: This article based on the following document: Practical Guide for the Establishment and Operation of Volunteer Programmes at Institutions : abridged English version