Volunteering in society's preparedness for crisis and war


  • Fredrik Lindgren
  • Kristoffer Darin Mattsson
  • Jessica Johansson

Publish date: 2016-10-12

Report number: FOI-R--4295--SE

Pages: 66

Written in: Swedish


  • Volunteers
  • volunteerism
  • civil protection
  • emergency management
  • civil defence and NGOs


Voluntary work constitutes an important contribution to the overall work of civil protection, emergency preparedness and civil defence. The purpose of this study is to study how voluntary defence organisations, non-governmental organisations and religious communities perceive today's conditions for participation in civil protection, emergency preparedness and civil defence and how these conditions can be improved. The study is based mainly on interviews with the above mentioned actors. The study also includes a limited survey of these conditions in the Nordic countries. The individual volunteer's commitment is often based in a particular interest or expertise while the needs of public authorities are more general. This implies a need to organize collaborations between volunteers and public authorities in ways that encourages individuals with specialized skills but at the same time provides a generalized support to responsible agencies. All interviewed voluntary based actors emphasizes that it is crucial for the commitment and motivation to be seen, acknowledged and included. If voluntary work is to increase in the future, it is important that public actors include nongovernmental actors in the work aimed at prevention, preparation and restoration as well as the more acute phase of crisis management. This work can take the form of participating in exercise planning, participation in joint training courses and participation in the analysis after disasters and crisis. The management of spontaneous volunteers is a task which established voluntary based organizations often have good knowledge and experience of. Public spending to promote volunteerism in the areas of civil protection and emergency management would benefit from a clear division into different categories. Public authorities should also take advantage of the resumed national defence planning as a means to reach out to and engage both existing voluntary actors and other actors in society.