Volunteering’s impact keeps on being recognized all over the world. The United Nations (ONU), for example, says that 2026 will be the International Year of Volunteers for Sustainable Development, according to its effects and potential on the execution of the 2030 Agenda, all over the world.
This shows the role it has in social inclusion and on the tacklement of common global challenges. In a way, not only the action and results of the volunteering activity directly influence the communities which are target groups of such actions, but also volunteers themselves.
The Volunteer and Go’ project allowed all involved parties to understand this. On here, volunteering was conceived as a tool for social inclusion of those who practice it, for it was important to involve all the potential stakeholders, agents (e.g. volunteers, volunteer managers, youth workers and coordinators, among others) and entities who can encourage such potential. For example, in Portugal, Pista Mágica involved the University of Porto’s Social Responsibility office as part of the Steering Committee of the project. This invitation was the beginning of a closer relationship with the University and a strategy to motivate them to invest more in Inclusive Volunteering. As a result, Pista Mágica has worked with the University until June 2023 in order to help them create a more Inclusive Volunteer Programme inside the University.
From this experience, it was possible to reach the following results: 1) volunteering management procedures (which are inclusive and are present on the PR2) and a whole new volunteer programme; 2) a platform, where organizations can insert volunteering activities and projects, and volunteers can look for opportunities according to their needs.
The University of Porto’s volunteer programme is now prompt to involve different profiles of people in their volunteering activities, reaching, at the moment, over 3900 volunteers (young people, teachers, researchers and other University’s staff, that take on the volunteering opportunities which are created, at a general level) and have a network of more than 33 associations and volunteer groups. This shows the impact of providing guidance and instructions to entities who manage, not only volunteering programmes, but also reach diverse target groups through them.