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A Strategic Plan for the Activation of Volunteering in Seoul

Sangmi ChoiㆍKyung-Hee ShinㆍHye-Rim Lee


Volunteering plays an important role in delivering social services in cooperation with charity and mutual aid, and its actual domain has been expanded with the development of civil society. From a traditional view, volunteering focuses on some fundamental principles and practices: non-obligatory, unpaid work for the benefits of others, under the organized setting. However, as the domain of volunteering has expanded to similar categories such as civic participation, community service, social enterprise, and even paid-volunteering, the traditional concept of volunteerism is being replaced by a more expanded and diverse concept.

It seems like volunteering is undergoing a radical change, from the ‘traditional program primarily consisting of delivering social services such as caring’ to ‘professional, self-organized and flexible activities.’ The volunteering participation rate in Seoul has been decreasing since the late 2000s, because it only counts participation in the traditional form of volunteering activities, which mostly takes place in social service agencies or public institutes.

This study proposes an enlarged concept of volunteering. By analyzing domestic statistics, reviewing oversea cases, and conducting in-depth interviews with volunteers and volunteer managers in both old and newly rising volunteering fields, this study draws policy implications to activate volunteering in Seoul City. This study recommends that volunteering need to include broader civic participation areas, especially consisting of volunteering at social enterprises and community building activities. The study also recommends the Seoul Volunteer Center, as the hub of volunteering in Seoul, to lead those change, by connecting diverse areas of civil society and developing diverse causes and programs.



01 Introduction

1_Background and Purpose of the Study

2_Main Contents and Research Methods


02 Understanding of Volunteerism

1_Review of the Definition of Volunteering

2_Emerging Issues in Volunteerism

3_Trends among Volunteering Activities in Seoul


03 Paradigm Shifts and Implications

1_Changes in the Volunteering Sector

2_A Paradigm Shift in the Volunteering Sector



04 International Case Studies

1_United States

2_United Kingdom




05 Survey of Volunteering Participation in Seoul

1_Overview of In-Depth Interviewing

2_Changes in the Perceptions of Volunteering

3_Task of the Volunteering Sector


06 Strategy for Activating Volunteerism

1_Policy Implications for Seoul City

2_Policy Implications for Seoul Volunteer Center

3_Volunteering: A Model Proposal