Informal volunteering and formal voluntary service Personal commitment to the common good - a well-established practice in Luxembourg
Informal volunteering is a personal commitment to help others or to work for the common good free of charge. Formal voluntary service allows young people under the age of 30 to invest their time in a clearly defined general-interest project on a full-time basis for a fixed period. In Luxembourg, both practices are widespread and contribute to building more inclusive societies.
Informal volunteering – get paid in personal fulfilment
The non-profit sector and informal volunteering play a key role in the development and cohesion of our societies. Solidarity, citizenship and respect for others are common values inherent to volunteering which is carried out through associations.
What are the core principles of informal volunteering?
- It is a commitment provided by people, free of charge, who work for others or for the common good, in a facility that goes beyond providing basic family or friendly mutual support.
- The volunteer does not receive any remuneration in the monetary sense of the term; when compensation is paid, it is purely symbolic in nature.
- Volunteering is complementary and non-competitive with paid work.
- Volunteering is carried out in an ethical and humanitarian manner, respecting human dignity, freedom, equality and the principle of non-discrimination.
- The voluntary sector is attentive to the needs of society.
A particularly important fact about voluntary work is that it is a two-way street: through associations, volunteers foster social well-being and welfare, and in return they develop and acquire new skills.
The knowledge and skills obtained through informal volunteering activities can be recognised in an officially capacity. Organisations may issue a certificate to the participants taking part in their voluntary projects and training programmes. Additionally, volunteers have the option to apply to the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth for an accreditation of prior learning and experience (validation des acquis de l'expérience, VAE). The certification obtained following a VAE can help the candidate to find a job or change career, and it may open up many more opportunities.
Since 2002, the Agence du bénévolat (Volunteering Agency) has promoted and developed volunteer work in Luxembourg among public authorities, non-profit organisations and the general public. The organisation’s website presents the associations working in Luxembourg and offers a two-way volunteer exchange: it enables interested persons to find activities and allows associations to find volunteers.
Each year, it presents the Volunteer Award of Merit (Prix du mérite du bénévolat), which acknowledges the value of voluntary work as well the valuable contribution of the various active volunteers in Luxembourg. For its part, the 'Bénévolat' quality label allows associations to single out their work via their high level of organisation and support.
Would you like to help build a more inclusive society? Do you need support in order to better integrate volunteers in your association? The Agence du bénévolat is the partner to guide and train volunteers and associations. It also provides assistance to municipalities that wish to encourage their inhabitants to do informal volunteering work or companies that support general interest initiatives.
The last Volunteer Award of Merit was presented to Mireille Cuénot of the Omega 90 association in 2022 for her commitment to palliative care.
Voluntary service - young people making a commitment to the common good
The formal voluntary service is different type of commitment that allows young people under the age of 30 to participate in a supervised general-interest project for a maximum period of 12 months in Luxembourg or abroad. Voluntary service is an ideal opportunity to combine a commitment to a good cause with a positive experience, thus enabling the participants to acquire skills that are useful in a professional world, such as self-awareness, autonomy, responsibility and teamwork. It is often a great human experience as well.
For more information, please contact our partner - the National Youth Service (Service national de la jeunesse). The volontaires.lu website contains information on the conditions for becoming a volunteer, the organisations that offer public service assignments and the training necessary to carry out these assignments properly. There are three types of voluntary service: national, European and cooperation.
National voluntary service
European voluntary service
Cooperation voluntary service
The formal voluntary service website is also aimed at organisations that want to host volunteers either in Luxembourg or abroad. In fact, any public or private body established in Luxembourg can become a formal voluntary service organisation and apply for accreditation.
Young people under the age of 30 can apply for a certificate that attests to their voluntary service. This document, issued by the National Youth Service, describes the tasks performed and the skills acquired. The certificate of participation can be used as additional information, for example when looking for a job, and also when applying for a VAE.