Volunteering activities are legally regulated in Romania, which benefits both organisations and volunteers. Thus, according to Law no. 78/2014, volunteering is the participation of a natural person volunteer in activities of public interest carried out for the benefit of other persons or society, organised by public or private legal entities, without remuneration, individually or in groups – Art. 3.a). Public interest activity is defined as activity in the fields of art and culture, sport and recreation, education and research, environmental protection, health, social work, religion, civic activism, human rights, humanitarian and/or philanthropic aid, community development, social development – Art. 3.b).

The regulations that exist can be of particular benefit to young volunteers, especially in their efforts to develop a successful career and find suitable employment. Thus, according to the law, voluntary activity is considered as professional and/or specialist experience, depending on the type of activity, if it is carried out in the field of studies completed – Art. 10(2).
From the point of view of the host organisation, it is recommended that a volunteer strategy be designed, outlining the directions of their involvement in the activities proposed by the organisation. Volunteers who are committed to our organisation in the longer term are difficult to attract, but they can be highly motivated and eager to learn new things (which can be linked to lifelong learning). The approach to volunteers often involves a transfer of method from the volunteer coordinator or other specialists active in the organisation to the participants in the placements.

A chapter that is insufficiently explored in Romania, but with great success internationally, is volunteering for seniors. In general, seniors benefit from more free time and can become enthusiastic supporters of the organisation if they are approached in an appropriate way, if through the proposed activities they feel invited to get involved, to make use of certain skills they already have (through demonstrations, crafts, etc.), or memories or elements of local history that they could share. Seniors who are attracted in this way can become good mediators for other audiences, but we must also take into account the difficulties they may face, such as reduced mobility, poor sight/hearing, etc.

One form of volunteering with great potential for cultural organisations is the encouragement of the existence of friends associations or foundations. Such NGOs attract members who volunteer and can support the organisation’s projects, including through fundraising.

For suggestions on how to approach volunteers, we recommend reading the publication OUR MUSEUM: A short guide to developing volunteer programmes in museums. The guide resulted from a project of the same title carried out in 2011. Coordinated by the National Network of Romanian Museums, with financial support from the Administration of the National Cultural Fund, the project involved the collaboration of the National Art Museum of Romania, the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, the Banat Mountain Museum in Reșița, the Natural Science Museum Complex of Galați, the Curtea Domnească Museum Complex of Târgoviște and the Centre for Professional Training in Culture. Dragoș Neamu, Adina Dragu, Anamaria Iuga and Corina Borș coordinated the guide. The electronic volume is available here.