One Year With the Board
One Year With the Board
A year has passed since the European Board’s election by the General Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria. For the past 12 months we have been focused on building the necessary groundwork for Volt Europa and its future. We look back at the time that has passed and we are thrilled to have had the chance to put in place a new EUR team structure, optimising workflows and better facilitating cross-team projects across Volt.
The European level has been enriched and strengthened and now is a level with fully reliable, functioning teams. With the European teams, we were able to develop our narrative further, as well as create a strategy that is being translated into the different national teams’ needs. We moved to our current legal entity, Volt Europa AISBL, and have managed to set up the foundation of our basic finances.
With that, we close the first chapter of Volt Europa: starting up and landing a seat in the European Parliament. Now, we want to continue writing the second chapter with you: intensifying our impact on the European, National, Regional and Local levels.
Something that is different from last year is that our National teams have been participating in elections all over Europe: in France, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, and Austria. While every campaign is a success due to the exposure we gain and the experiences we make, it must be mentioned that the elections in North Rhine-Westphalia have brought forward exceptional results—a success that has positioned Volt as a serious player. In total we have gained 37 new representatives in the past year in Germany, Italy and Bulgaria. This has really taken us to the next level!
Social Innovation Campaigns
What we have always said has finally come true—we are not just a political actor that pushes for change through party politics. We are also leading tangible changet:
- With EuropeCares, Volt has helped kickstart an initiative that has become “one, if not the largest relief good initiative in Europe” according to cooperating NGOs. Over 700 pallets of aid have been collected. The initiative has been sending aid from Spain, the Netherlands and Germany for months now and has grown to a size we never could have imagined when it started.
- Our campaign in anticipation of The Conference on the Future of Europe (COFE) has posed a great opportunity for us to show just how European and how connected we are. The data we were able to extract from the COFE survey has been immensely valuable—something that was visible to us but also the political actors watching us. We were able to learn more about our voter base as well as our movement and are looking forward to moving this project on when the circumstances allow it.
- Our petition to the European Parliament helped put homelessness on the agenda. Partner NGO Homeless Entrepreneur and Volt presented it to the PETI committee, which unanimously supported keeping the petition open. Now, we consider next steps on how to keep attention on this important topic, because nobody should be forced to live on the street in the European Union.
- Our Bulgarian team has shown nerves of steel and persistence, protesting for over 100 days now! Their fight against corruption and for democracy has been an inspiration. It is crucial we all recognize the seriousness of the threats democracy in Bulgaria is facing—this is a fight Europe cannot ignore and we need to push the EU to hold its member states to higher standards. Together, we stand up for democracy and in solidarity with our Bulgarian friends.
Our own Damian Boeselager has been working away with his team in the European Parliament, especially in the four committees he is a member of! We are proud to be able to say that our MEP, the first truly European MEP, has been highly vocal on humanitarian issues like the refugee crisis. Additionally, he has been deeply influential in impactful decisions such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
The European Volt Teams
Together with the European teams, we have achieved so much! Including—but certainly not limited to— further developing our narrative, implementing new policies into our policy portfolio, implementing a new Volt-owned website platform, and having many training programs & lots of events taking place in the last 12 months.
Capacity was what the teams needed when we started. We are proud to see that the European level itself has been growing and with the work of our General Secretaries has professionalised to a degree that we can even remunerate one full-timer.
We have gained further highly qualified Community Organisers through the completion of the Harvard Kennedy School course “Leadership, Organizing and Action”. And our own Volt Academy has started creating teams that are developing programs that will continue professionalising Volt and enhance the abilities of our members in Europe, such as the recently formed Leadership Development Team.
To continue professionalising/growing we once again are asking for your financial support. Please consider visiting VoltEuropa.org/donate & setting a recurring amount. Alternatively reach out to our Fundraising Leads to see how you can support their initiatives.
The board has been proud to work alongside the European teams to achieve everything we have in the last year, and we thank the many, many volunteers who have made it possible.
This year has been challenging. COVID-19 has forced our community to change its tactics,and so we did something we do quite well—adapt our strategy to the resources we have and make the best of it. Clearly, missing fun opportunities also means we miss chances to enhance our internal cohesion. But what we unmistakably made clear is that we are flexible in our way of working and being productive, and we are not afraid of challenges.
In the future we promise to make an effort to have fewer GAs, as we have received feedback from the movement that indicates “GA-fatigue” which we very much understand. We will strive for two per year. The next GA will be in spring next year in Lisbon!
Policy is what makes a political party what it is,so having had the new policy framework introduced as well as a new policy process is a huge accomplishment for Volt. The new policies we voted on as well as the further development of our structures are a massive step forward professionalising our movement. We hope that more Volters will continue contributing to the development of our policies.
Expansion efforts have been fruitful - in the past year we grew to four thousand legal members, are improving the diversity within our membership and overall are becoming more aware of the necessity of hearing diverse opinions and enabling more quiet voices to become vocal. We encourage everyone reading this to apply to become a legal member of Volt Europa by following this link! This gives you voting rights and makes our movement stronger.
We have a long way to go, still, but are consciously making efforts to become more representative and we believe we are heading the right way. Part of that is also the fact that we have managed to get an overall gender parity in our leadership positions - what a fantastic accomplishment! It is incredibly valuable to have this potential grow within our movement.
We are pleased to have had the honor of shaping Volt Europa’s direction of the past twelve months with you and look forward to the next year: We will be running for elections in many countries: Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Denmark, Italy and potentially more. We will also be campaigning for change through an European Citizens’ Initiative. We are excited about all the campaigns - because they have one thing in common that we all work for: They will have a positive impact on the way citizens in Europe live.
This year we have experienced ups and downs. We have had challenges just as much as we have had successes. We are disappointed we don’t get to see each other half as much as we thought we would when we started out as a new European board. But we see our movement being more active and determined to bring forth change in Europe, more than ever. We are confident we will power through together and are glad to be able to do it with you.
All of this is possible because of our fantastic teams and their volunteers: Academy, Communications, Data Analytics, Events, Expansion, Finance, Fundraising, Community, Legal, Partnerships, Policy, Tech, Design, Social media, PR, the National teams and all the local teams throughout Europe.
“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Lucky for us, there are a lot of Volters that think this way. For that, we are eternally grateful!
The European Board