Every other person in Estonia devotes part of their free time to volunteering. What is volunteer activity?
Estonia does not have legislation which covers volunteering, but volunteer work is understood in the same way – devoting one’s time, energy or skills based on free will without recompense. Volunteers help others or act mainly in the public interest and for the good of society. Helping one’s family members is not considered volunteer work.
VOLUNTEER ACTIVITY SIMULTANEOUSLY MEETS THREE KEY CRITERIA:
- it is done out of free will, not because of an obligation or coercion
- the volunteer does not receive monetary or material payment, although he or she may derive many other benefits, such as knowledge and skills or new acquaintances
- volunteers work outside the home and family, for the good of someone else or society more broadly
WHAT IS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE VOLUNTEERING?
Volunteering is not usually considered to be the following:
- small good turns and good Samaritan acts, such as giving a hitchhiker a ride, helping someone cross the road or carrying a heavy bag, helping a fallen person get to their feet
- donations of money or things
- compulsory practical training for school
- expressing one’s mind at a demonstration and signing a petition
- community service mandated by court, juvenile committee or other institution
- taking care of family members
TYPES OF VOLUNTEER ACTIVITY
Volunteering at one’s own initiative and independently is a self-initiated, voluntary activity. Volunteering in activities initiated and carried out by an organization is referred to as organized volunteering.
Volunteer work can be ad hoc – carrying out some specific activity, undertaking or project or responding to a call for help – or regular.
Volunteer service is a more comprehensively organized and delimited part of volunteering, which is characterized by a specific time interval, clear goals, content, assignments, structure and framework, appropriate support and legal and social protection.
Volunteer work and volunteering and volunteer activity are terms that are considered synonymous in everyday life. In the interests of clarity, it might be better to consistently use the term “volunteer activity” or “volunteering”, as volunteer work is not addressed in the labour legislation of the Republic of Estonia.