Alžbeta BROZ M A NOVÁ GR EG OROVÁ , Marek S TAC HOŇ
Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
Volunteering in the Context of Social Work –
Historical Connection and Perspectives
A b s t r a c t : Social and voluntary work are connected historically. e relationship between social
and voluntary work has undergone specic development. Contemporary values of social and vol-
untary work are based on principles of democracy and human rights and their aim is to promote a
socially cohesive and just society. e goal of the contribution is to analyze the perspectives of volun-
teering in the context of social work. In the rst section the historical connection between voluntary
and social work is analyzed. In the second section attention is paid to changes in social and voluntary
work in relation to the modernization process of society and possibilities and perspectives of future
cooperation between social and voluntary work are outlined.
Ke y wor d s: social work, voluntary work, community, professionalization
Voluntary and social work have common historical roots, a shared philosophical
and ethical background and sphere of activity. ey are also heavily inuenced by
the political and cultural context in which they are developing. Nowadays, both
voluntary as well as social work are being confronted with social trends related
to the modernisation of society such as globalisation, technological development,
demographic changes, changes in civil society, the rise of post-modern values and
changes in family and work. In the eld of social as well as in voluntary work these
eects are of interest to experts and their transformation and future are the subject
of reection. ey also aect the correlation between them.
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Historical aspects of the relationship between social and voluntary work
Radková1 states that social and voluntary work are directly and indirectly con-
nected historically as well as culturally and in terms of civilisation. Doing some-
thing for others that does not arise directly from obligations or law was and always
will be a voluntary act, an act of the free will, of a free person.
Similarly, Havrdová2 notes that all helping professions originated historically
as voluntary activities. Originally there had always been some idea, an enthusiasm
for improving things, or for some form of assistance. However, the greater the
complexity of the activity and the possibility of harm to clients, or in other words
the more knowledge and a systematic approach is required, the quicker this turns
into a particular profession when united with education.
Sherr3 divides the historical relationship of social and voluntary work into
three stages. Even though he is making his analysis in an American context, the
same forms of voluntary and social work can be identied in the European and
with minor dierences in the Slovak context. e following stages are:
– Volunteering as a basis for the formation of social work,
– Social work eorts to professionalization and denition of itself.
– Harmonisation of mutual relations between voluntary and social work.
1. Volunteering as a basis for the formation of social work
During a long period of the Middle Ages, the scope for personal activity and
philanthropy was limited by the Christian doctrine, which, while supporting love
for one’s fellow man in theory, in practice forcefully steered away possible acts of
love and used them solely for political gain. Furthermore, we are still dealing with
an order to love, and goodwill, as the inner disposition at the heart of voluntary
service, and external commands and conditions are mutually exclusive. Similarly
by tying help, support and later insurance services for individuals to a worldly
power or state we leave no room for immediate and exible responses to specic
people and situations even if there is a will to intervene on the behalf of the person
in need. As this political directive is to be seen in the social sphere both in the
Middle Ages up until the early modern age, so also it is evident in connection with
neo-paternalism in various countries and totalitarianism in the 20th century. e
basic impetus for the concept of voluntary service as a way of activity for all people
1 L. Radková, Sociálna práca v treťom sektore, Trnava 2003.
2 P. Koucká, Dobrovolníci versus profesionálové, Psychologie dnes, 2007, No. 2, pp. 34–37.
3 M. Sherr, Social Work with Volunteers, Chicago 2008.
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without distinction is formed in the ideas of the Enlightenment, whereby it is not
only a question of an enlightenment with social overtones, but also of highlight-
ing the value of the human being as such without reference to his/her political,
religious, professional, or social aliation. Enlighteners seek a new justication
for the necessity of cooperation and reciprocity and they emphasize the ethical
level of solving imperfections and tribulations that we have caused and will still
cause during the course of history. Ethics becomes a universal tool for nding
enduring solutions for things human to which every endeavour must pay homage.
It is not a coincidence that society in this period begins to focus intently on the
problems of education, healthcare, social security of the elderly, the sick, the young
and the unemployed. is turnabout changed how environmental problems were
perceived among individuals who began, in this way, to be confronted and chal-
lenged into attitudes and action by people and situations that presented a par-
ticular need, thereby overthrowing stereotypes and conformity to standards that
had often been used to self-limit them in the social sphere. e Enlightenment
brought ideas but mainly the justication behind civil and human rights. During
this period there is a paradigm shift in the perception of man suering from de-
ciencies of various kinds, social helplessness, traumas, inrmity and degradation.
is paradigm shift is particularly reected in the eld of law. e basic principle
of modern criminal and civil law is the fact that the purpose of the law is not to
take revenge on the culprit, but to admonish and correct, and compensate the vic-
tims4. We owe that to the social philosophers of the 18th century. It was no longer
about restriction but about looking for ways to support a person’s positive qualities
in correcting things. e issue was stimulating the will of the person from whom
society, and in the nal analysis, he himself expected a solution of the situation.
e political product of these eorts became the Declaration of human and civil
rights (1789). e declaration calls for responsibility and activity. One begins to
understand the signicance of this responsibility and activity, which is of increas-
ing value, if one’s motive is seless, or voluntary. e second incentive was the
Universal declaration of human rights (1948) and, stemming from this, the proc-
ess of three generations of human rights. e boom of voluntary organizations
which we can subsequently observe in the second half of the twentieth century is,
amongst other things, the result of the end of the golden age of the social welfare
state. Responsibility is transferred to civil society as an independent organism. e
beginnings of the formation of social work as a free-standing profession are tied
with charitable, philanthropic and voluntary activities. At the end of the 19th and
4 A. Harrington et al., Moderní sociální teorie, Praha 2006, pp. 66–67.
100 Hi s tor i a i Pol it y ka • No. 1 2 (19 ) / 2 014
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the beginning of the 20th century, in the United States of America, the UK and
Germany, organized aid to poor and otherwise socially disadvantaged people was
developed by means of civic and church organizations, provided in particular by
volunteers under the guidance of sta. Voluntary service as a principle attempts to
present the human being beyond the framework of the legal aspects of claiming
rights to something; it implies a common bond on the level of moral principles,
virtues and the common good. is heralds to a great extent the trend in commu-
nity types of co-organization and togetherness, or rather the common good for the
community or locality. e historical manifestation of this development are the
emerging voluntary organisations and self-help groups, which, however, were the
product of the eorts from the period of movements for the various rights of vari-
ous persons, minorities, women, unemployed etc., at the end of 19th and the rst
half of the 20th century. It is clearly more demanding to engage society as a whole
in voluntary service, identication with its purposes, values and goals. At present,
it is obvious that neither the welfare state, nor the free market bring the desired
eect5 in the social sphere, whether in terms of people with shortages or in need
or in terms of social stratication. Hospitals, clinics and schools did not ensure
security, health and education in all aspects and, indeed, in certain respects these
institutions retained control, dictatorship and surveillance over them. e ideas
of utilitarianism as a principle of liberal social progress (its visions) threatened
rather than protected freedom of thought, inquiry, self-expression and creativity.
is decit of self-expression and creativity is covered nowadays by volunteering
or voluntary activities.
When compared to Western countries, the development of social work in the
territory of former Hungary during that period was dierent, but as far as the
beginning of voluntary work is concerned it was very similar at the same time.
As Brnula6 notes, among the rst legislative measures adopted in the territory of
former Hungary was in support of activity meant for the benet of resolving social
issues to be carried out on a voluntary basis as in Western countries.
2. Professionalization of social work and its denition
Systems of care for the poor at the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century were,
on the one hand, built on the work of volunteers but on the other hand, they were
a transition from an individual and voluntary philanthropy to professional and
scientic social work. e recognition of the need for an individual and compre-
6 P. Brnula, Sociálna práca. Dejiny, teória a metódy, Bratislava 2012.
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hensive assessment and for solving the situations of people in distress and for the
eective coordination of the services have led to the need for experts who are pro-
fessionally trained for the job. However, professional preparation in its early days
never aimed to replace individual interest and voluntary eort. Mary Richmond
(1908)7, for example, believed that social workers can never themselves be serv-
ants or helpers of community. She believed that the fundamental responsibility of
social work as a profession is to lead and to support volunteer eort.
Nevertheless, with the development and systematisation of social services, in
many areas the importance of reciprocal partnership between the social workers
and professional workers and the volunteers was soon forgotten.
e beginning of the 20th century and the period between the wars is charac-
terised in social work in the American and both the European and Slovak contexts
by the development of education in this area, with the rise of social work in dif-
ferent areas, and at the same time it may be dened as the period of social work
eorts to dene itself as an independent profession. In the context of this eort
not only the appearance of social work is changing, but also there are chang-
es in its relationship to volunteering. In an eort to demonstrate social work as
a profession in relation to the colleagues of other professions, but also in relation
to the clients and the society and, of course, to itself, it was necessary to clearly
distinguish social work from voluntary social work eorts. As Gambrill8 states,
the result of the eorts of social work to dene itself was a departure from its
relationship with volunteers, because through this relationship its professional sta-
tus in society could be easily called into question. is way social work dened
itself separately from its volunteer basis. Partnership with volunteers in providing
services and solving social problems gave the volunteers access to the area of social
welfare services that social work had fought for so hard and through which it is
seen as a professional authority.
Tratner (1999)9 summarizes the shift in the relationship between social and
voluntary work at the beginning of 20th century in the US context: volunteering
has not completely disappeared from social work, the rst reason being its long
tradition, and the second being that both social workers and nurses needed the
power, inuence and nancial aid of volunteers. However, what happened was
that there was an exchange of roles. While in the early days volunteers were in
direct contact with those in need, paid workers ensured the functioning of the
7 M. Sherr, op. cit.
8 E. Gambrill, Social Work: An Authority-Based Profession, Research on Social Work Practice,
Vol. 11, 2001, No. 2, pp. 166–175.
9 M. Sherr, op. cit.
102 Hi s tor i a i Pol it y ka • No. 1 2 (19 ) / 2 014
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organisation, and gradually an exchange of these roles came about. Volunteers
were doing oce work, and as members of the boards they shaped the policy of
organisations and sought nancial contributions, while the eldwork was in the
hands of paid professionals. Previously perceived as a civic obligation, volunteering
has become a privilege supported by agencies for those who accepted their author-
ity and discipline.
Beside the eorts to professionalize social work, the formalisation of social
work had an inuence also over the change in relationship between social work
and volunteering. Many of the services provided by volunteers and private subjects
are falling into government hands. e government assumes responsibility for the
area of social services and social work becomes its primary profession of provision.
As a consequence, the work of volunteers is falling into the background.
Similarly as in the USA and in the European context, in Slovakia also during
the period of the rst Czechoslovak Republic, the social work went through the
process of professionalization. Social workers often had to prove and defend their
status in relation to the public and other professions. In Slovakia the need to dene
social work from other forms of aid has also arisen, in addition to the eorts of
social work to distinguish itself from the charity work with which, as reported by
Brnula10, the social work was getting into the conict in this period11.
In spite of the formalisation and professionalization of social work, the mutual
cooperation of volunteers and professional workers and workers in most areas of
social work was much needed in the interwar period. As Matoušek and Šustová12
state, in relation to the situation of the interwar social work during the rst Czech-
oslovak Republic, the volunteers have many times performed the roles of concilia-
tors, negotiators between the professionals and carers.
Cnaan13 describes the relationship of social and voluntary work in this period
as one in which social workers provide systematic and professional services while
volunteers make up the hidden network of security and aid.
3. Harmonisation of relations between volunteering and social work
Despite the changes stated in relation to volunteering and social work it can be
concluded that social work never quite broke o ties with volunteers. As Ander-
10 P. Brnula, op. cit.
11 In this case it is important to note that volunteering is not identical to charitable work.
Working with volunteers has its place in social as well as in charitable work. Volunteers may be
involved in pursuing the objectives of both forms of assistance.
12 O. Matoušek et al, Základy sociální práce, Praha 2001.
13 R.M. Cnaan, e Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership, Columbia 1999.
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son and Ambrosino (1992)14 state, during the Second World War, social workers
turned to volunteers as a necessary source of meeting the social needs. In the
1950s volunteers become partners for supplementary services of social work, they
help to raise money, to educate, and they assist in oces. In the 1960s some vol-
unteers went to the provision of direct services, they oered therapies, counselling
within the framework of telephone crisis intervention, advocacy in domestic vio-
lence cases and participation in self-help groups.
e signicant development of voluntary organisations, volunteer programs
and self-help groups in the nineteen-seventies, contributed to a change in the mu-
tual relations between voluntary and social work in the world. is development
was triggered by the crisis of the welfare state on the one hand, and on the other
hand by the policy of the conservative systems of Ronald Regan and Margaret
atcher, which created the central part of the strategy from the support of the
voluntary sector with the aim of reducing government spending on social aairs
(M. atcher, for example, proposed to retain social care entirely on a volunteer
basis). Although such a situation was characteristic mainly for the conservative
systems of England and the United States, it drew the attention of other European
countries (Salamon 2000)15. On the other side, the growing movement of volun-
teerism and self-help groups was an expression of the growing civil self-condence
and people’s eorts to solve problems themselves and by applying their own vi-
sions and ideas. At the same time, it was a response to the imperfect or lack of
e return of social work to utilizing the aid of volunteers was built on the idea
that adequately prepared and supervised volunteers can complement the work of
social workers, and help them concentrate on the more complex aspects of their
e harmonisation of relations between social work and volunteering arrives
on the territory of Slovakia much later than in Western countries. In the period
following 1948 under the inuence of socialism and communism in Slovakia so-
cial work as a professional activity as well as voluntary activities are decimated.
eir reciprocal relationship during this period is dicult to analyse and reliably
Social work in this period gets into the hands of the government and is fully
dependent on the authorities, also being nanced by them. In our opinion, the co-
14 M. Sherr, op. cit.
15 D. Ondrušek et al., Čítanka pre pokročilé neziskové organizácie, Bratislava 2000.
16 M. Sherr, op. cit.
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operation of government social workers and volunteers was unique in this period
and was generated more by the individual eort of specic social workers. is
fact is also connected with changes in the eld of volunteering. e development
of organisations of the civil sector and voluntary activities was interrupted rst by
the German occupation and the Second World War, and later by the establish-
ment of a socialist republic. As Tošner and Sozanská17 point out, the tradition of
volunteering was forcefully interrupted during the totalitarian regime and the ac-
tivity of all types of independent organisations was deliberately and systematically
reduced or was subject to strict control.
After 1989 in Slovakia there is a signicant development in both spheres –
in the sphere of social work and in volunteering. Social work starts to develop
quantitatively and qualitatively, on all perceived levels, as a practical activity and
profession, as a science, and also as a eld of study. At the same time, there is a de-
velopment in volunteering and voluntary activities. e sense of freedom to make
decisions about oneself and about the community led the people in Slovakia not
only to establish many political parties but also non-governmental organisations
and to voluntary involvement on behalf of other people and communities. e
development of civil society brought with itself the development of the volunteer-
ing phenomenon. In some areas, such as humanitarian or charitable work, the
space for full implementation had just opened up, but in the majority of civil and
voluntary activities a new tradition emerged. In our opinion the following proc-
esses were particularly important for the formation of the reciprocal relationship
between social and voluntary work:
– an elimination of national paternalism from social policy and transferral of
responsibilities to the citizens,
– a transformation of the social security system and the system of social serv-
– a transformation of public administration,
– a de-institutionalisation of social services,
– a development of new types of social services and social work in the eld.
e processes noted above created the preconditions for the mutual coopera-
tion of social work and volunteering.
17 J. Tošner, O. Sozanská, Dobrovolníci a metodika práce s nimi v organizacích, Praha 2002.
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Volunteering as part of social work at present time
Hustinx and Handy18 indicate that social work views volunteering as part of eve-
ryday life. In this sense volunteering may be considered as one of the instruments
for fullling its mission. As Matulayová19 notes, “supporting the development of
volunteering among people is turning out to be one of the options for solving the
social problems of today”.
In connection to adenition of social work’s mission we encounter in the most
recent scientic literature the concept of social functioning. Despite the fact that
social functioning is a term with multiple meanings, the authors mostly use it to
refer to interactions that are taking place between the requirements of the environ-
ment and people. In this context it is possible to perceive volunteering as a path to-
wards the development of individuals’ potential resulting in support of their social
functioning. It presents the intervention of social work in relation to clients who
can be the recipients as well as the agents of voluntary activities. At the same time,
it is an intervention directed towards the creation of the clients’ living conditions,
partly in the sense of improving the quality of social services of organisations, and
partly in building an inclusive society.
In connection with volunteering in the context of social work, we meet with
the theme of the professionalization and de-professionalization of social work.
Navrátil20 writes about professionalization and de-professionalization as the di-
lemma of social work. Professionalization is a reection of the eorts of the profes-
sional group to introduce standards, typication and control to its performance.
As Řezníček21 states, the pursuit of social work de-professionalization should give
even laymen open access to social work. Social services provided by friends, fam-
ily and volunteers, according to proponents of de-professionalization, can lead to
more signicant results then a specialized approach.
In our opinion, the current provision of services by professionals and volun-
teers may not be in conict. It does not have to be the option of either/or, i.e. it
does not have to present the dilemma of being obliged to choose between two
alternatives. e system of voluntary and informal assistance can be provided in
compliance with the professional services and their objectives.
18 F. Handly, L. Hustinx, e Why and How of Volunteering, Nonprot Management and
Leadership, Vol. 19, 2009, No. 4, Summer 2009, pp. 549–558.
19 T. Matulayová, Fenomén dobrovoľníctva optikou andragogiky a sociálnej práce, [in:] Fenomén
dobrovoľníctva v sociálnych službách. Zborník príspevkov, Prešov 2011, pp. 10–11.
20 O. Matoušek et al, op. cit.
21 I. Řezníček, Metody sociální práce, Praha 1994.
106 Hi s tor i a i Pol it y ka • No. 1 2 (19 ) / 2 014
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Volunteer programmes can be used as a part of the services of social work in
dierent ways. e help of volunteers can be provided concurrently with profes-
sional services; however, it may precede or follow professional help. Analysis of the
benets of volunteering and the cooperation of professional social workers with
volunteers may be part of a wide range of activities of social work.
As Brueggemann22 reports, partnership with volunteers is an alternative way
for social workers to work on development and provision of their services. Social
workers need to perceive volunteers as partners who aim to bring in social change.
Instead of experts providing services or agents representing large bureaucratic in-
stitutions, social workers can work together with volunteers and support them and
direct them towards ensuring social and economic justice.
We agree with Mrázová and Radková23 that voluntary service neither neces-
sarily nor exclusively means amateurism. Groups of volunteers are springing up
in the form of well-coordinated professional teams of experts who are willing
and committed to serving those who most need it. ey are able to give shape to
alternative concepts of public and social policy, and deal with advocacy and lobby-
ing activities. ey reveal gaps in social assistance and respond swiftly to societal
needs whether on a national, regional or local level.
Social work and volunteering are developing in a post-industrial period that is
signicantly inuenced by the modernisation process. ese inuences in the area
of social as well as voluntary work are a subject of interest to experts and reection
about their changes and future. ey also inuence their mutual relations.
Chytil24, in his opinion on the results of modernisation in relation to social
work, agrees with Stoesz (1997) who anticipates an end of social work based on
the fact that it originated during the period of industrialisation and missed the
transition to a post-industrial society. He notes in his conclusion, on the other
hand, that social work might perhaps survive if its objectives would be redened
towards the sustainment and development of communities through the commu-
nity economy. Social work can take advantage of its experience in establishing
a community of people of equal standing who will protect one other in situations
when the modernised society will fail to do so.
22 W.G. Brueggeman, e Practice of Macro Social Work, Belmont 2002.
23 A. Mrázová, L. Radková, Dobrovoľníctvo a postupná profesionalizácia jeho manažmentu ako
priorita rozvoja sociálnej práce, Geriatria, Vol. 7, 2007, No. 4, pp. 170–173.
24 O. Chytil, Důsledky modernizace pro sociální práci, Sociální práce/Sociálna práca, vol. 7,
2007, No. 4, p. 64– 71.
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As Göppner and Hämäläinen25 note, the development of managerialism is
a reection of modernisation and globalisation trends, and is becoming an expres-
sive form of a new post-modern ideology of social work. Social work is becoming
more and more a system of organisations, and management of “services packages
and networks”, including assessment and risk, cost estimate and analysis of costs
and prots. e authors point out in this context that if, on the one hand, social
work does not want to compromise its own professional existence, it has to think
in categories of eciency, eectiveness, quality and management, and therefore
reect the economic-business thinking. On the other hand, as Bauer26 points out,
the fact must be considered that the provision of services in the social arena is oc-
curring in relation to people in an interactive endeavour that is in progress, and
happening in the same place and involved are two people or groups of people with
diering needs. General transference of economic categories onto social work, as
well as development of concepts for the management of organisations in the social
sphere, ultimately always requires specication and adjustment, by taking into
consideration professional objectives whose benet they should be serving, at the
end of the day.
We disagree with the theory about the demise of social work. In our opinion,
social work responds to current changes in the post-modern society, reected by
the development of community work and its preventive and development poten-
tial in relation to diverse target groups and to various areas of social practice. e
values of social work built on a foundation of human rights and social justice are
particularly relevant in an age of post-modern individualism. Proof of this is the
adoption of the document called the Global Agenda – the world challenge for
social work and social development in March 2012 by the International Federa-
tion of Social Workers (IFSW), the International Association of Schools of Social
Work (IASSW), and by the International Council for Social Welfare (ICSW).
e document is based on the fact that the political, economic, cultural and social
structure of the past and the present results in unequal consequences for commu-
nities at the global, national and local level, and has a negative impact on people.
As a result of this, it calls for the need to enforce and defend such a societal struc-
ture that pays attention to respect for human rights and dignity and is interested
in the quality of human relations. For the period 2012–2016 they propose focus-
ing the eorts of social workers on four areas:
25 H.J. Göppner, J. Hämäläinen, Rozprava o vede o sociálnej práci. Hľadanie prvkov pre prog-
ramatiku, Bratislava 2008.
108 Hi s tor i a i Pol it y ka • No. 1 2 (19 ) / 2 014
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– promoting social and economic equality,
– promoting the dignity and value of the human being,
– making an eort to achieve a sustainable environment,
– strengthening understanding of the importance of human relationships.
In each of these areas measures are proposed towards building and supporting
strong and inclusive local communities, whereby the importance of community
work is underlined.
e consequences of social modernisation aect not only the eld of social
work, but also the area of volunteering. Some theories see in the results of mod-
ernisation a “threat” to the area of public participation and identify trends of
decreasing voluntary eort in all groups of the population, but especially in the
young generation. In particular, the root causes are being looked for in increas-
ing individualism, in the collapse of traditional local networks and communities,
diminishing ties to religion, the fostering of a consumer lifestyle, or individuals
becoming cut o from “the outside world”. Studies show that trends related to
modernisation are not reected automatically in a decline in people’s participation
but in changes in the so-called volunteering formulas or styles. Similarly as in
the eld of social work, we encounter two tendencies in the eld of volunteering.
On the one hand, a need for the professionalization of volunteering is identied,
chiey in terms of development of formal, management-directed volunteering. On
the other hand, there is a development of community style volunteering, whether
in a formal, non-formal or virtual community setting27.
Both of these trends from the eld of volunteering may be reected in the
context of social work. e subject of interest for social work, in our view, is both
formal and informal volunteering. Both, however, nd their use in dierent areas
of social work. Formally managed volunteering is a part of the theory, research
and practice level of individual and group social work. Informal volunteering is
a part of theory, research and practice in community social work in particular.
See Figure 1.
27 P. Frič, M. Vávra, Tri tváře komunitního dobrovolnictví, Praha 2012.
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Figure 1. Volunteering in the context of social work
Source: Own work.
Formally organised and managed volunteering has developed in the last few
years, especially in the eld of social and health care. An emphasis on a managerial
style of leadership in volunteering, and the associated trend of professionalization
of work with volunteers especially correlates to the nature of formally organised
and professionally based social work. Professionalized volunteering in the area of
social work focuses primarily on the clients – individuals, families and groups. As
Frič28 notes, it seems that the symbiosis of these two models is unshakable and has
great potential for further development.
At the same time, beside the trend for professionalization of management vol-
unteering, we encounter the trend of a so-called “return to community” and the
development of informal voluntary activities. A number of authors state that the
importance of non-formal community volunteering, aimed at strengthening and
developing local or interest-based community, will rise in the future. In this context,
28 P. Frič, Současné trendy dobrovolnictví a sociální práce, Sociálna práca/Sociální práce, Vol.
11, 2011, No. 4, p. 8.
Formal volunteering Informal volunteering
of volunteering, trend
volunteering, the trend
to the community
with individuals, family
110 Hi s tor i a i Pol it y ka • No. 1 2 (19 ) / 2 014
Pa p e r s
we agree with Frič29, that the future of volunteering in the eld of social work could
be linked to an even greater use of self-regulatory elements and a closer connection
of social and community work. e mutual relations between formal and informal
volunteering suggest that, in the eld of work with volunteers, social work with
individuals and groups can be linked with working with the community.
Societal processes related to the modernisation of society change the attitudes of
people in relation to volunteering, and they present new challenges for social work.
We agree with Sherr30, that social work in the world as well as in the Slovak setting
has the potential to begin a new era in its relation to volunteering and volunteers.
Over the past two decades the area of social services has changed signicantly.
Responsibility for the provision of social services is shifting from government to
private and non-prot sectors at the local level. Along with this shift there is an
eort to encourage volunteers to participate in fullling social needs. Social work
is an important profession in the development, provision and evaluation of social
services. Its future as an eective and valued profession is signicantly linked to
how it will renew its role of partner alongside volunteers.
29 Ibidem, p. 9.
30 M. Sherr, op. cit.