Volunteer management in times of crisis

Over 14 million people have fled their homes since Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, out of which approximately 6 million have left to seek asylum in neighboring countries (UN). Volunteer involving organizations in Eastern Europe, particularly volunteer managers, are at the forefront of the Ukraine crisis response efforts. The massive influx of refugees in need of assistance as well as the growing number of volunteers who are eager to help has posed a significant challenge to volunteer managers. This unprecedented situation has left volunteer managers to juggle the physical, emotional and mental needs of the beneficiaries, while also ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the volunteers.

Understanding ongoing challenge, IAVE and members of our Global Network of Volunteering Leadership (GNVL) have partnered together to support volunteer managers by providing tools and best practices which will empower them in their response efforts. A 5-part virtual training course was developed to cover critical topics related to volunteer management during crises. The organizing committee includes Sónia Fernandes of Pista Mágica (Portugal), Liora Arnon & Mimi Cymbalista of The Israeli Volunteer Council, Wolfgang Krell of Augsburg Volunteer Center (Germany), Stuart Garland of Volunteer Ireland, Iluia Barbaneagra of Republican Volunteer Center (Moldova) and Nichole Cirillo of IAVE. Volunteer managers and coordinators from Moldova, Ukraine Romania and Poland were invited to join the training course. 

The sessions, running for 2-hours each, were held over the course of 5 weeks. The topics were:

  • Assessing the Situation and the Needs of Refugees – Ana Gonçalves, Pista Mágica, Portugal
  • Crisis Volunteer Management – Liora Arnon, The Israeli Volunteer Council, Israel
  • Training Tools for Volunteers – Liora Arnon, The Israeli Volunteer Council, Israel
  • Resilience and Transition – Wolfgang Krell, Executive Director, Augsburg Volunteer Center, Germany

The training welcomed 32 volunteer managers across Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. We are closely working with our partners in Moldova to assess next steps and gather feedback from volunteer managers in the region, in hopes of develop a second iteration of the training program. Stay tuned for more updates on our work!