Ensuring a smooth return and preparing for the post-volunteer period
Return from mission
Closure and follow-up: volunteers are encouraged to take part in a group review of the volunteering experience.
The longer the duration of the assignment, the more important it is to support the returning volunteer. It is experienced differently by volunteers depending on their experiences in the country of assignment. Support on return is of interest on four levels: for the project, the volunteers, the organisation and the sector. It is essential for the volunteer on a professional and personal level to:
- to put his/her mission and the impact of his/her action on people and communities into perspective,
- share the difficulties experienced with hindsight, clear up any remaining misunderstandings, measure the skills acquired, capitalise on know-how and interpersonal skills, and promote the value of this volunteering experience to employers,
- plan for the readjustment that may be necessary upon return, and to reflect on the continuity of one’s commitment to solidarity in other forms.
Different meetings can be offered to volunteers on their return from their mission:
- An interview at the end of the assignment: this allows one to review the assignment, support and the future plans with some perspective
- A collective review course, which can be shared with other dispatching organisations and external contributors (NGOs, local authorities, etc.)
Drawing on the experience
Drawing on the experience gained: working with the volunteer to identify the skills acquired (formal and informal) and the possible links with certification systems and the labour market, in particular in conjunction with the networks of former volunteers.
Measuring the impact of the volunteering experience on socio-professional integration and continued commitment through cohort follow-up, in particular via post-volunteer surveys.
Encouraging further engagement by developing pathways and transitions to other schemes.