In the Netherlands, voluntary work is run by non-profit organizations. The work usually covers one or two shifts a week, with a maximum of 28 hours a week. Organizations strongly favor a structural agreement about participation for half a year or longer, but this can always be discussed.
While doing voluntary work, engaging people without a reasonable command of the Dutch language is not advisable . Most organizations will indicate that some basic knowledge of Dutch is a condition for doing voluntary work, because not all participants (clients, volunteers or professionals) have an easy command of English. Besides, almost all communication with volunteers is done in Dutch. Fortunately, organizations are increasingly aware of the possibility to recruit English speaking volunteers. From all participants this will require some flexibility, creativity and thinking out of the box. Non-Dutch speakers will need initiative and perseverance to find suitable voluntary work. Organizations will welcome your ideas about promising opening.
After a positive first interview, it is common practice in volunteer organizations to agree on a introductory period. This period will allow you to experience if the voluntary work provided faces up to your expectations. It also enables the organization to decide your suitability for the tasks in question.
Training and guidance
Some organizations offer courses to their volunteers, workshops and intervision. Sometimes accepta- tion of this provision is obligatory. Generally, courses are in the Dutch language.
It is strongly recommended to come to a clear understanding and agreement about all your voluntee- ring activities, including: tasks you are and are not expected to do, who will give you proper guidance and where you van go with questions you might have. Some organizations make use of a volunteer agreement. Tasks, responsibilities, availability, illness, vacation time, introductory periods, performance interviews, expenses and insurance can be specified in the volunteer agreement.
Organizations are free to decide if they will refund expenses. Some organizations provide a fixed compensation per shift, others only refund actual expenses and still other organizations do not refund anything. Dutch law allows you to receive up to €1500,- yearly and €150,- monthly for expenses without having to declare this to tax authorities. Above these amounts you will have to show receipts for all you expenses.