The objective of the current study is to provide an overview of volunteering and relevant changes in this field in Estonia. This is a repeat survey, meaning that the data collected during this study has been compared to the results of the 2009 survey “Volunteering in Estonia”.
This longitudinal approach underlines changes that have taken place over the past five years and looks at possible factors behind these changes. The second objective is to compare the extent and ways of volunteering in comparison to other countries.
In addition to Estonia, the current study provides an overview of six additional countries. This offers a more comprehensive picture of the state of play and developments in the field. The comparison of the selected countries has been presented as a narrative based on available data, which has been gathered from most recent studies, published statistics and analyses. This survey is based on the Estonian Civil Society Development Concept and Estonian Civil Society Development Plan 2011-2014.
According to these strategic documents, the state has two main objectives in the area of volunteering:
- Valuing volunteering as an important factor of being a citizen
- Promoting, recognizing and valuing volunteering, efficient engagement of volunteers in civil society organizations and coordinating relevant activities.
The authors of this study hope that the results of the analysis will be useful during the next phase of compiling the Civil Society Development Plan (starting in 2015) and in this way support the continued development of volunteering in Estonia.
Altogether, 31% of Estonians have volunteered in one way or another during studied 12 months, if both knowing and unknowing volunteers are included. Compared to the study conducted in 2009, where the volunteering rate was 47%, the change seems significant. Nonetheless, there are several reasons behind this change and it is incorrect to state that the rate of volunteering has significantly dropped.