Volunteerism and Working with Volunteers
Getting to Know and Collaborating with Society in VolunteerismSedat Doğan, Adem Başpınar
This section focuses on the principles, methods, and techniques volunteer actors (people and institutions) need to consider regarding “getting to know” and “collaborating with society”. Volunteer activities are carried out over three basic stages: planning, implementation, and evaluation. Whether explicitly stated or not, these stages are unique to a society possessing certain characteristics. In this situation, the volunteer actors cannot soundly conduct the pertinent activities if they fail to make preparations with regard to getting to know the society/community. For example, an activity for fighting addiction cannot be soundly conducted by remaining unfamiliar with the phenomenon of addiction or the characteristics of the addicted individuals being addressed. Volunteers’ experiences in the field and volunteer organizations’ institutional memory are clearly able to contribute to how activities are planned and implemented. Due to the unique characteristics of each situation and community, however, volunteer actors’ past experiences do not eliminate the need to get to know the community. Moreover, the activity should be stated as being limited to providing the conditions necessary for getting to know the community, this condition being to collaborate with the community. When considering our example on addiction, no matter how well prepared the volunteer actors are, the addicted individuals must clearly be persuaded and supported by the relevant activity. In short, a two-way dynamism is essential in volunteering: While volunteer actors’ efforts to “get to know the community” increase the effectiveness of the activities to be performed, the community’s “collaborative” practices have the potential to allow these activities to produce a permanent solution for the community. In this context, the two sections “Methods and Techniques in Getting to Know Society” and “The Principles of Collaboration and the Process of Cooperation” located in this chapter will be respectively discussed.