UMBRELLA and SEKTOR 3 activities in Poland
Wroclaw Centre for NGOs Support SECTOR 3 was founded in April 2007. Ii is carried out by the Foundation for the Support of Non-Governmental Organizations UMBRELLA in the form of a public task and is financed by the Municipality of Wroclaw (Poland).
The mission of the UMBRELLA Foundation is: “Bearing in mind that the activity of the citizens is the basis of democracy, we support the creation and development of Wroclaw NGOs and social initiatives. To this end, we conduct training activities, serve advisory, provide information and relevant resources.
The Foundation strives to ensure that co-working organizations have to learn to work independently and effectively and will be able rapidly develop and pursue their own goals.
The Wroclaw Center for NGOs Support SECTOR 3 aims to implement innovative activity in such areas as support model, volunteering, competence research, support of organizations, and seniors activity.
The main task of the Centre Sector 3 is to support and comprehensive assistance provided to Wroclaw NGOs (usually at the initial phases of their development). SECTOR 3 is also a place of integration, experiences exchange and cooperation establishing of Wroclaw NGOs, but also to encourage civil debates, public consultation and meetings with representatives of public administration on issues relevant to community and voluntary sector.
The model of support offered free of charge at the Centre consists of the following services:
• training in the establishment and operation of NGOs (e.g., how to set up a foundation or association and raise funds for its operation, how to manage effectively human resources and build a team).
• Individual consultations related, among others, to: law, accounting, operations, fundraising, organization management, billing projects, research and evaluation, cross-sectorial cooperation and international volunteering, training, building the image of the organization and its promotion.
• Animation local communities, e.g., support to revitalize local communities, organization of animation meetings within the Civic Incubator Activity, advises how to solve local problems, create effective grassroots initiatives and inter-sectorial partnerships.
• Free rental of rooms for NGOs (available are three workshops rooms, computer and conference room).
• Providing space for office work with computer and internet access, office address, mailing address, and dedicated phone number.
• Development of a database of contacts and giving a free access to cooperating NGOs.
• Promotion and information activities – sharing the latest information on Associations and Foundations of Wroclaw and the Lower Silesia region (information is disseminated through newsletters and is available on the SECTOR 3 website and on the Center fanpage)
• Support NGO Career Center for those wishing to pursue a career with NGOs.
• Free access Reading Center and crossbooking unit – rich collection of printed and electronic publications, studies, reports, and interesting multimedia.
The support model is the result of long-term experience of the UMBRELLA Foundation in the implementation of a public tasks, continuous monitoring of the needs of the organization, as well as numerous debates of incubators from all over the country (National Conventions of NGOs Incubators – UMBRELLA Foundation was the organizer of two out of three such industry events held so far).
The main aim is to support coupling people interested in volunteering and organizations seeking volunteers, promoting knowledge on volunteering (in schools of lower secondary and upper secondary, colleges, among seniors, and also by co-organizing the Volunteer Festival of Lower Silesia). Engaged volunteers are either young people (e.g., high school students conducting computer training, students pursuing their own projects in the field of intergenerational cooperation and conducting a variety of activities for representatives of non-governmental organizations) and seniors (e.g., supporting the organization of events such as Wroclaw Seniors Days, Lower Silesian Festival Volunteer Action ‘Leave a 1% of your tax in Wroclaw’). Volunteering is intertwined with paid work. Experienced volunteers become employees, and the employees themselves often are involved as volunteers in various projects of the Foundation.
The Foundation UMBRELLA together with four other organizations from different countries of the European Union implemented the project IMPROVE – IMPACT Of Volunteering on personal and professional Growth. The intention of the IMPROVE project is to adapt the tools used to assess the skills and competencies applied in a business environment or vocational guidance to the needs of voluntary activity. This is made possible thanks to the cooperation at European level between organizations working with volunteers in the local, national and international environments. The direct result of the project is the textbook on A set of tools to assess the competence of volunteers. The manual is used by the staff of the UMBRELLA Foundation to support volunteers’ activity, as well as in the training of volunteer coordinators from other organizations.
Support of organizations
The main aim of the support is to accompany groups of informal and non-governmental organizations at every stage of their development (starting with the registration process up to obtain stability in all areas of the operation – the management of the organization, raising funds for its operations, brand building organization, human resource management, fulfilling formal and legal duties, and other). Used methods include coaching, mentoring, caregiver support organizations, the creation of development plans and strategy of the organization (e.g., building financial capital or brand of the organization). The activity is accompanied by constant monitoring of the organization’s needs and responding to them.
Through various types of advice activity, consulting and organizational work (even training courses, workshops, conventions, partnerships and others) the UMBRELLA Foundation and the Sector 3 Centre are seen as a mentors for the non-governmental.
Seniors usually have time to be engaged in the various social activities. They find themselves in voluntary activities in the different forms of the Foundation, e.g. in the “Fair NGOs”, Wroclaw Seniors Days, organizational support for the Lower Silesia Festival Volunteer, the Festival of Independent Belarusian Culture, and the action “Leave 1% in Wroclaw.”
The seniors use also the infrastructure of the Centre SECTOR 3 to undertake various activities for their own intellectual development, language learning, or physical activity as well as artistic and cultural performances. The inclusion of seniors in the mainstream NGO sector gives them the sense and the ability to integrate them in a different way of the mainstream of social life.
The Centre is also a good place to integrate seniors with the young generation. Computer Workshops led by university students, workshops led by seniors fairy-tale for children in kindergarten and junior primary school, memory training workshop conducted by students of andragogy for seniors – they are only examples of intergenerational activities that characterize this open place of meetings and cooperation.