Kansalaisareena Citizen Forum urges that the following measures be taken:
1. Organisational and volunteer activities must receive sufficient, long-term funding that breaks down existing divisions.
– Sufficient funding is essential if volunteer and other organisations are to reach their full potential in preventing social problems, building trust and improving society.
– To enable the beneficiaries of funding to anticipate future opportunities and be maximally effective, funding for organisational and volunteer activities must be sustained and stable.
– The structure and level of funding must enable the different volunteer and other organisations to function independently. Structurally, the funding must be developed to ensure it fosters collaboration between different sectors and industries in order to promote wellbeing and inclusion.
– Organisations must be guaranteed equal fundraising opportunities, and training and additional resources must be provided to ensure this. Government grants must support the launching of fundraising activities, above all by approving costs incurred through these activities.
2. Public administration must make good use of knowledge gained through participation in organisational and voluntary activities.
– Decision-making bodies must take steps to ensure that a broad spectrum of organisations are represented, from small associations to national organisations. Minorities, different regional needs and other equally important factors must not be overlooked.
– Greater, genuine dialogue with organisational representatives is needed regarding all aspects of the decision-making process and the preparatory work preceding it.
– The public sector must utilise the knowledge of various organisations and volunteers in the development of public services.
3. People must be supported in learning civic and democratic skills at every educational level.
– Greater opportunities must be provided for learning about societal advocacy and inclusiveness through volunteer activities at every level – in early childhood education, comprehensive and upper secondary education, and in higher education and adult education and training.
– Newcomers to Finland must be clearly informed of the opportunities available to them throughout the integration process for participating in organisational and voluntary activities.
Why volunteer activities must be openly discussed during the parliamentary elections and reflected in the next government programme
- Volunteer activities are a cornerstone of any democratic society. Volunteers have helped Finland pull through the crises of recent years and maintain hope.
- There is a thriving volunteer culture in Finland, and the general attitude towards it is positive. At present, close to half of the population – 47 per cent – participate in volunteer work.
- However, there is still enormous potential for growth in this area. According to one report, 28 per cent of all Finnish residents intend to become more involved in volunteer activities. A further 36 per cent of respondents stated that their level of participation would remain unchanged.
- A high level of volunteer activity is also sorely needed to ensure equal wellbeing for everyone in Finland, and in a far-sighted way that is sensitive to the limits of our planet.
- Volunteer activities contribute to mutual trust and caring in society, as well as fostering inclusion and societal advocacy. Through volunteering, everyone can have a say in things that are important to them and create real change. In this way, it plays a crucial role in a functioning democratic society.
- Voluntary activities also represent an important fount of innovation, thus offering opportunities for societal change and renewal.