How to clearly express your expectations?

As mentioned before, especially when working in a multi-cultural environment, different persons work by different norms. What is appropriate, correct, ethical or suitable for one person can be totally opposite to what is right for another. For this reason it is recommended to state the norms that you expect the volunteers to obey from the very beginning of the project in a clear and concise way.

One of the documents in which you can include your expectations from the volunteer and where his or her duties can be explained and be agreed is the Volunteering Agreement. We will take this one as example, as it is the most common one, but you can draw up similar agreements for any kind of volunteering activities. Whereas different projects require that the volunteer will have different tasks and responsibilities, here are some examples of what these may be and how they can be presented, so that the volunteer understands better the expectations the organisation has from him:

Roles and tasks of the participant:

Taking responsibility on accomplishing all the objectives of the project through the activities foreseen;

Contributing with time, energy and enthusiasm towards the aims and objectives of the project's activities for the whole duration of the agreed stage;

Carrying out the project's duties as described in the project's description;

Attending to all scheduled activities, arriving on time and staying for as long as the volunteer’s presence is required by the activity/event/session;

Attending EVS training and meetings with partners and the National Agency;

Attending trainings on project related topics organised by the coordinating and hosting organisation

Handing in all travel documents, in original, to the coordinating organisation (e.g. travel ticket, travel reservation, boarding pass);

Working together with the coordinating and the sending organisations in order to receive the visa and vaccinations, if needed;

Informing the coordinating organisation of special needs that need to be taken into consideration in the context of the project (e.g. diet, disability, illnesses for which precautions need to be taken) and agree on the information which can or should be forwarded to other interested parties;

Taking responsibility for his/her actions, both in the project's activities and in the community;

Conducting himself/herself in a courteous and respectful manner and being a positive role model for all he/she is working with;

Treating the other volunteers or youngsters of all ages, genders, religions, and cultures with respect and consideration;

Treating everyone with respect at all times and not degrading anyone;

Not engaging in any activity that can harm the image of EVS, Erasmus+ Program, the organisations that are part in the project, hosting country or any other country, the partner institutions of the project and other stakeholders, both during the working hours and the free time;

Dividing and sharing tasks related to the maintenance of the office, accommodation place or any other common places and following them throughout the project;

Keeping low noise levels in the accommodation place and other common places, especially later in the evenings;

Demonstrating maturity, honesty and open mind for discussion when there is a divergence of views (conflicts between two or more volunteers), for avoiding conflict situations by determining the causes and finding ways to solve them;

Acknowledging that participation in the EVS stage is a privilege, not a right, that all involved in the project aim at the same objectives and that it is needed to find the ways and resources to reach those objectives;

Acknowledging that abuses, threats, intimidation or physical or verbal harassment in relation to any other stakeholder of the project will not be tolerated at any time;

Acknowledging that lying, cheating, or stealing will not be tolerated at any time;

Acknowledging that any behaviour or activity outside the project that affects the volunteer’s work performance is not acceptable in the context of the project;

Acknowledging that the volunteer must not use, posses or be under the influence of alcohol during any activity;

Acknowledging that, as participants in the activities can also be under 18 years old and that volunteers should be role-models for their beneficiaries, smoking or using tobacco products in the presence of the participants during their activities is not allowed;

Acknowledging that using or possessing any weapons or illegal drugs during the stage is strictly prohibited;

Acknowledging that if, for any reason, a volunteer will not follow the stated rules, the following steps can be taken, unless the severity of the offense requires further actions:

Verbal or written warning addressed to the one responsible for light violations;

Verbal or written warning addressed to the responsible volunteer together with a notification addressed to the sending organisation and/or the National Agency;

Termination of the volunteer's stage in case of repeated or severe violations. If such situation will occur or if the volunteer decides to terminate the project before the agreed end date for reasons not imputable to the hosting or coordinating organisation, any expenses caused by the early termination of the volunteer's stage are to be covered by him;

Acknowledging that in case he or she will not be fulfilling the responsibilities and duties mentioned in the agreement, the coordinating organisation in liaison with the sending organisation is entitled to interrupt the volunteer’s stage and make the necessary preparation for the departure of the volunteer;

Acknowledging that the applicable law is the hosting country’s law and any disputes concerning the interpretation, application or validity of the agreement are to be addressed to national courts of the country;

In extent to this, organisations have the option of specifying in a more clear way their expectations related to the conduct of the volunteer throughout the stage. For this, a document called as Code of Conduct can be presented and agreed with the volunteer, providing further details about what is considered to be acceptable or not. Here is an example of such a code:

Code of conduct sample





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