The Erasmus+ project Volunteering for a Sustainable World (VoW), which kicked off in 2022, has successfully delivered its first major work package. Throughout 2022, project activities ranging from focus groups with volunteers to interviews with Fair Trade and other third sector organisations have led to the creation of a code of competences and recruitment models for sustainable economy volunteers within charity retail.

Keeping to the code

Working on this code has underlined how volunteer-based organisations in different countries can vary heavily, even when flying under the same banner. VoW, project number 2021-1-IT02-KA220-ADU-000033711 VoW, is a collaborative effort between Fair-Trade shop umbrella organisations, which include Altromercato, CSVnet, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), E.N.T.E.R. Network (dissemination partner), Fundacio Oxvam Intermón, Oxfam Magasin du Monde and E.F.A. (trainer of volunteers). These umbrellas differ, for example, in their entry levels for volunteers, their volunteer recruitment strategies and their welcoming and training practices.

Identified needs and possibilities

Professor of volunteering, civil society and business and of strategic philanthropy Lucas Meijs and academic researcher Ivo Geers, both of RSM, have observed a clear gap and learning potential within these organisations to utilise recent scientific insight on volunteer management to enrich the project products and create societal impact. Topics surrounding inclusion, flexible volunteering arrangements and third-party volunteering are relevant to tackling the main problem many volunteer-based organisations face: a lack of success in recruiting new volunteers in the way of young people, newcomers and a new generation of seniors.

Next up, second work package

Training modules to address the gaps in knowledge and skills within these organisations, with relevance to other, similar volunteer-based organisations, are being created as part of the second work package. RSM will continue to work with the partners of VoW until the project concludes at the end of 2024. Project results will start to be available in the coming months.

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More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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