On 30th June 2017, in Bucharest, VOLUM Federation organized a one day training for NGOs that are engaging volunteers in their projects and activities. The main goal was to present and test the ProfilPass – Portfolio for Volunteering experience in order to collect feedback from volunteer managers, improving afterwards the instrument. Another objective was also to present the EUROVIP project, its context, main goals and the partners involved.
The event started with a brief presentation of the participants – who´s who? – with content regarding their job, the NGO, its mission and one competence that they have gained through volunteering activities or other informal learning contexts. After sharing our stories with the group, we had the opportunity to talk more about the project, the idea of the ProfilPass, the steps that have been done in adapting the original instrument to evaluating volunteering activities, including in the final portfolio aspects regarding Romania`s national context for volunteering. Nonetheless we identified ways this instrument can help the NGOs in issuing the national volunteering certificate – VoluntPass.
Moreover, the participants were able to share the most important instruments and methods they are applying in their NGOs in order to evaluate and recognize the learning outcomes their volunteers gain through projects and activities. In order to detail they were invited to share: how often do they evaluate, who applies the method/instrument, what happens after etc. The idea was to create the context for them to share best practices and useful instruments to build bridges between the participants, to acknowledge they have a network where they can ask for support in terms of coordinating volunteers and evaluating their learning processes.
After this session, we had the opportunity to talk more about the Portfolio of Volunteering experiences. VOLUM team presented each chapter, the philosophy behind this instrument and how flexible this instrument can be for the NGO. The group discussed about all contexts in which this portfolio can be used: volunteering, informal and non-formal learning context, competences, personal qualities and experiences etc. Furthermore, it was a great occasion to discuss more about the differences between competences, abilities, skills and attitudes.
Furthermore, the next two sessions were destined to a more practical approach to the methodology of the ProfilPass, giving participants a chance to test one of the most important exercises from this instrument and, also, to learn more about the value of the certificate, in order to improve recognition of competences gained through volunteering. In groups of two, participants talked about one activity they have enjoyed in past several months, trying to identify what competences they have gained. Along the process they nonetheless discovered a new way to build an action plan focusing on steps for improving some of the competences they already have and gain other ones as well.
In the last session, VOLUM team clarified the difficulties/questions volunteer managers had about the national volunteering certificate – VoluntPass and the online platform they can use to issue it, both in English and Romanian.
At the end of the day, each participant received a printed version of the Portfolio and were encouraged to test it in their organizations, on their volunteers. For collecting feedback and „next steps” they had to fill in an online questionnaire, and their answers help VOLUM improve the instrument. Last but not least, the highlights of this event were 1) the volunteer managers had the opportunity to discover an instrument they can really use, in the evaluating and monitoring aspects in their activities and 2) sharing best practices from their organizations.