Volunteering in the system of activities of public education:
In the practice of small settlements, the empowering role of individuals appears intensively. Typically, the work of ‘one-person’ community scenes, village houses, integrated community and service spaces (IKSZTs) is facilitated or supported by the members of the community according to their abilities, skills and knowledge. In the case of a complex event (e.g. a village day), the performing arts groups themselves and the technical contributors – as the ‘organisers’ of the event – voluntarily perform their tasks. In this approach of volunteering, citizens’ social involvement is directly directed at their own community, less determined by institutional tasks and activities. There are also good examples of the fact that community participation is not only a part of the life of an institution from the beginning, but also an indicator of their development and thus of institutionalisation.
Many community scenes have opened their doors directly thanks to local community initiatives.
With the widespread use of volunteering in the world, the institutional system in Hungary has also recognised that professional programmes have been interwoven by active communities for decades. The institution gradually began to identify people or groups of people who are committed to a public education institution as a part of its own human resources, or volunteers. Due to the large number of organisations affiliated to public education scenes and institutions, the volunteering indicators of the area are outstanding, often overlapping with the role of local NGOs, which largely determine and influence the work of institutions and scenes.
It follows that successful achievement of the strategic goals of public education institutions is almost impossible without the involvement of volunteers, and more and more leaders see the importance of volunteer management. Recognising the importance of volunteering, the National Institute of Culture established its National Volunteering Vocational Centre in 2014, the main task of which – through its county office network – was to provide methodological support to public education institutions and organisations. The Centre provided assistance through professional conferences, workshops, trainings and exchange of experience to become a volunteer hosting institution, employ volunteer management and employability of a coordinator.
The National Institute of Culture addressed several representatives of the profession several times during county methodological days, presenting exemplary practices in the field of community education on a voluntary basis. The institution’s approximately 300 contracted volunteers have typically been involved in community, business and youth development projects, as well as events related to amateur art. Most of the contractors have already performed volunteering in their own settlements – not specified in the contract – thus contributing significantly to the development of local society. The practices described were typically implemented in the area of volunteer-hosting and coordination, thus already in line with the provisions of the Act on Volunteering.
Many agora-type organisations employ volunteer coordinators and have built volunteer management to make institutional delivery more successful and efficient.
A good example is the practice of the Csabagyöngye Cultural Centre. The institution performs settlement-level tasks in Békéscsaba with a population of 60,000, and its activities are extremely diverse. Numerous events serve the active recreation of the inhabitants of the town and its neighbourhood. Without age restrictions, every citizen living in the settlement is welcome to visit the renewed agora. Festivals, concerts, classical and light music events, educational presentations, exhibitions and various specialties, clubs take place among the walls of the house and on the community grounds.
The efficiency and effectiveness of the task delivery made it necessary for the organisation to ‘employ’ volunteers, besides the professionals, who help to prepare and run the aforementioned events. Volunteers are most involved in registration, ticketing, seating, cloakroom services and event supervision. These activities contribute greatly to the success of the programmes. The volunteer coordinator uses two types of motivation techniques: one to attend free programmes at the institution and to organise volunteers for team building, reward, recognition and motivation.
Most of the smaller public education institutions are still ahead of the registration process, but in the light of the professional achievements so far, we can rightly expect the official form of volunteering to become more widespread.
The statistics on public education (OSAP) clearly show the division of tasks of volunteering in community education.
38% of those engaged in professional jobs have a university degree. The share of non-graduates in the same segment is 28%. In non-professional jobs, 34% of volunteer helpers are quantifiable. As shown in the figures below, the number of volunteers has tripled since 2008, from 12,465 to 38,115.
The development of library volunteering in Hungary is characterised by the following figures. As the figures show, the number of volunteers has been increasing since 2012. In 2015, there were 1,701 library volunteers nationwide, while between 2008 and 2012, for five years, their numbers stagnated between 1,000 and 1,200. With regard to the 2015 headcount, there is a clear hope that 79% of those involved assisted the institutions in their professional work.
Volunteers in museum institutions
Volunteers, assistants, and others employed in museum institutions are listed in the OSAP 1444 database. According to the data, the number of museum ‘volunteers’ has increased significantly, two and a half times since 2008, but even in 2015 the number of volunteers is below 1,000 on national level.
Examining the qualifications and activities of the 700 volunteers, assistants and other employees in 2015, it can be concluded that almost 60% are engaged in other (non-professional) occupations and their education is mixed. There is a higher proportion of people in tertiary education who have a university degree.
According to 2015 data, 131 museum institutions are involved throughout the country. In terms of county-level data, their number is higher in Baranya, Bács-Kiskun and Borsod-Abaúj counties besides the capital city, which largely follows the county distribution of the number of reporting institutions. In 2015, an average of 5 volunteers were employed in a museum institution employing volunteers.
Hungarian museum volunteering first appeared in the Museum of Fine Arts in 2006 in an organised form, and after the launch of a large-scale programme at a national museum, it slowly spread to domestic museum institutions.
In 2010, the Móra Ferenc Museum in Szeged and the Petőfi Literary Museum in Budapest also launched a volunteer programme. Between January and March 2011, the Hospital Volunteer Service Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts jointly organised an eight-day museum volunteer coordinator training programme with 12 representatives from 10 organisations. 2011 was the European Year of Volunteering, which also encouraged museums to open. Especially as resources have become scarcer, the visitor-friendly approach has brought more and more new services, tasks and support to museums. The promotion of museum volunteering was also promoted by the national museum coordinator network, led by the methodological directorate of the Hungarian Open Air Museum and the Museum Education and Methodology Centre (MOKK), which was one of the first to encourage volunteers to participate in conferences and trainings. Occasionally conferences help to meet and exchange experiences with colleagues in the field. This includes the Hungarian Open Air Museum’s “Volunteering and Singing – Volunteering in Public Collections” conference, the annual National Museum Educational Conferences and the “Volunteer Management Challenges in the Long-term conference, dedicated to the the 10th Anniversary of the Volunteer Programme of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2016 In addition to this, volunteering has been on the agenda of the National Museum Andragogy Conferences. In summary, the past few years have brought about significant cultural development in museums as well.
Based on an examination of national museums in Hungary, Mária Arapovics also stated that volunteer management and a volunteer strategy are needed in museums, sometimes based on a human resources plan. Volunteer and school community service coordinator training / further training should be organised. It would be useful to hold targeted professional forums on specific issues and solutions. New experiences in civil relations need to be strengthened.
In 2015, the total number of volunteers in the three cultural segments was 40,517, of which 38,115 are included in the statistics of public education institutions. The outstanding index is also due to the active communities involved in the fulfilment of public education tasks (the number of cultural communities is 16,177, the total number of clubs and specialties is 14,508). Distribution of data providers: public education sector (municipal, county local governments and minority self-governments, associations, foundations, business associations, enterprises, churches and central budgetary institutions) 5,592, of which 680 are public education institutions, 2,749 community venues and 2,163 other types of organisations. Based on statistics, 241,559 cultural events were realised in the field. Due to the legal requirements of the task management, public education and community involvement in the field of libraries and museums is also strengthened. A total of 106,783 events took place at the 3,976 reporting libraries, and 108,117 programme applications were registered at the 725 museum institutions. The involvement of volunteers is also increasing in line with the increasing professional and social activities.
This article based on the following document:
Practical Guide for the Establishment and Operation of Volunteer Programmes at Institutions : abridged English version