The role of volunteerism in health care - The state of healthcare nonprofit organisations, new challenges in 2020-2022

Marianna Várfalvi


Traditional volunteer activities in healthcare have mainly evolved to compensate for the deficit in the quality of life caused by illnesses, to provide basic human needs and comfort, and to help coping with dying and loss. Volunteer activities, extended by new public health challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the Ukrainian war refugees arriving in our country, enhance social responsibility for the health of the individual, the smaller community, and ultimately, the nation. Volunteer tasks in the health care sector can undoubtedly be performed successfully if specific circumstances such as physical-mental needs and collaboration with health professionals exist. Foundations constitute the majority of the nonprofit organisational forms (NPOs) in the health sector; in 2020, 1,757 foundations were involved in health care, that is 8.9 percent of all foundations. In addition, 671 health-related NGOs were involved, accounting for 1.6 percent of all NGOs. A major challenge for volunteering among health-related NPOs is to meet the new criteria and capacity needs and to cope with the additional workload. In these unpredictable and ever-changing challenges, in addition to the existing experiences, new elements and methods are required tot organize, recruit, train, motivate and recognize, and coordinate and evaluate activities.

Keywords: health, health-related NGOs, COVID-19, war refugees, challenges,