Many NGO-s are frustrated by the fact that while they play an essential role in society by tackling important social issues (they fight against poverty, prejudices, inequlaity, mental health problems, social isolation, unemployment, etc), and while they also have a range of tested and effective methods to deal with these issues, they have limited human and financial capacity to fill the need that arise in these fields. They can expand their reach to an extent by involving and managing volunteers, but even this solution consumes part of their already limited resources.
On the other hand, there is potentially a mismatch between what volunteers want to do/are capable to do and what organizations looking for volunteers offer them to do.

Compared to traditional ways of volunteering, a more active role could be more appealing/motivating for many volunteers.


The COBU project offers a possible solution to this problem by creating a network of self-managed volunteer groups, that can act more or less autonomously and independentley from the „host/initiator” organisation. To be able to do so, partners need to prepare these volunteers adequately, to offer them supervision/mentoring – at least in the early stages - , and to create a platform for them where they can connect to each other. The partners’ intention is to keep only a minimal level of control over these self-organised volunteer groups – only to ensure that their activities are in line with our values and missions.


We will

  • write a research study that will offer an introductory test about different models of self-organised volunteering and will provide the basic methodological material for the development of the necessary training materials ("Self-organised volunteering: an introduction")

  • create local online platforms for self-organised volunteers with the help of which they could get access to resources, could share experiences with each other, support each other and promote their own projects and events ("COBU Local platforms")

  • prepare volunteers to be able to assess their own skills, strengths, experiences, and based on their interest and motivations to come up with their own initiatives and to be able to turn their ideas into a reality ("Guidebook for setting up self-managed volunteer groups")

  • put together local case studies documenting the whole process (by using written analyses and short video reports) that would help others (persons and organisations) to adapt this model by presenting the different steps/activities in context and by describing the journey of all involved parties (partner organisations and their volunteers) ("Case studies")


  • Adults who wish to participate in this new way of volunteering

  • Other NGO-s, organisations working in the field of volunteering/community development/civic engagement who could adopt our method to engage selfdirected volunteer teams that could extend the reach of their mission.

Participating organisations:

- Képes Alapítvány (Hungary), coordinator
- Elan Interculturel (France),
- La Asociación La Xixa Teatre (Spain),
- Storytelling Centre (The Netherlands),

The project is funded by the European Union and is carried out between November 2019 and Mach 2022. 

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