An interview about dugnads

Julie Årving
Dec 11, 2018 · 2 min read

This interview was done as a part of the Dugnadsbanden design experiment. We had a chat with researcher Karl Henrik Sivesind at Institutt for Samfunnsforskning in Oslo. He he told us about the history, trends, and status of the dugnad today.

What is the current status of the dugnad in our society today?

The dugnad is very important for social equality and inclusivity. Today one in ten Norwegian children are living in poverty. Activities based on volunteering, such as the dugnad, are contributing to even out socio-economic differences. But we see that people are getting a bit tired of the dugnad. Demanding that people show up is not always popular; time is money.

What role does social media have in terms of volunteering?

What is important about social media is that they are not mass media. You reach those who have the same interests as you, and you can communicate with them. An important question is: How can we use this to achieve more volunteer activity? The social inequalities we see in our society are also visible on social media, but the threshold for participating is at least lower. You should not rely completely on social media to do the job for you, but they can contribute to enhance what is already happening.

What are the trends in volunteering today?

Before people stuck to one organization, but now they want to engage in several different causes at the same time. The number of short term volunteers is on the rise. We are less patient, and people are “shopping” for causes. They ask themselves: “Where can I contribute?”

How do we get people to engage in volunteer activities?

The reason why people struggle with engaging is that they don’t know where to start. They are not sure of what exists, and how they can contribute. Coordinated volunteering is becoming more popular. People say “I would love to do more volunteer activities, but I don’t want to sit in the board meetings”. We must also not forget that the most important prerequisition for doing volunteer work is that somebody simply asks you.

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