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citizens convinced of the relevance and importance of volunteerism to social development? Does popular culture support volunteerism or is it a challenge that a new volunteerism law or policy must overcome?

  • Political context. What are the current problems and issues facing the country? Will macro-political events present opportunities that the drafters of volunteerism initiatives should consider? Will the political context raise potential challenges for volunteerism initiatives?

  • Current regulatory environment. What are the laws and regulations that affect volunteers? Consider civil society laws, tax laws, labor laws, social security laws, immigration laws, and liability laws. Do these laws and regulations create incentives or disincentives to volunteer work? Do the laws fail to address the needs of volunteers? Which laws create barriers to expanded volunteerism?

  • Current infrastructure for volunteerism. Are there organizations that match CSOs with volunteers or publicize volunteer opportunities? Do CSOs or government agencies offer training or other services to volunteers? Is there a national volunteer website? Does the current infrastructure support volunteerism or serve as a barrier to implementation of new volunteerism laws and policies?

  • Goals of a volunteerism law or policy / needs expressed by stakeholders. What do CSOs, volunteers, academics, and other stakeholders find problematic about the current legal and regulatory environment for volunteerism? What is on their “wish list?” What are their goals for a new volunteerism law or policy? What is the government’s goal for a new volunteerism law or policy?

  • Past initiatives. Past volunteerism initiatives and the lessons learned from their successes or failures should be reviewed as part of any assessment of current needs.

  • Gender mainstreaming and socially excluded persons. Does the current legal environment impede the

equitable inclusion of women and men or socially excluded persons in volunteering

opportunities to promote gender mainstreaming and the inclusion

volunteering

initiatives?

What

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mainstreaming and the inclusion of socially excluded

of proposed persons?

law,

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initiatives? Are there excluded persons in strategy on gender

Before drafting a volunteerism law or policy, government officials must conduct a carefully designed needs assessment to articulate concrete and measurable goals and determine and seek to address the most likely obstacles and challenges to achieving reforms in the volunteer sector. Although each country will have its own specific local needs and context, common goals of volunteerism laws and policies include mobilizing citizens to achieve development goals, channeling citizen effort into government priority areas, promoting national citizenship and civic engagement, and economic development. Challenges to these goals often arise due to cultural and legal obstacles or an insufficient volunteer infrastructure.

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