Editorial team
Authors Youth Forum working group Youth Work 2011 – 2012
Matthias Christensen, Alix Masson
Graphic Design
Laurent Doucet
European Youth Forum AISBL
120, rue Joseph II
1000, Brussels
Belgium – Belgique
with the support of:
the European Commission
the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
2014 European Youth Forum
ISSN : 2032-9938
1. Introduction
2. Levels of youth work and why it is important for society
2.1 Levels of youth work within the country
2.2 Levels of youth work outside the country
2.3 Impact of youth work
3. Establishment of National Youth Councils
3.1 Reasons for establishing National Youth Councils
3.2 Steps for establishment of a National Youth Council
4. Members
4.1 Membership criteria
5. Roles of National Youth Councils
5.1 Representation, advocacy and lobby work
5.2 International cooperation
5.3 Material support
5.4 Capacity building
5.5 Awareness-raising and introducing new topics
5.6 Knowledge and know-how centre for youth work and youth policy
6. Structure of National Youth Councils
6.1 Structures
6.2 Representative body
6.3 Executive body
6.4 Other working structures
6.5 Staff
7. Financing National Youth Council
7.1 Structures of funding for National Youth Councils
7.2 Funding sources
7.3 Corporate Social Responsibility
7.4 Other Funding Sources
8. Co-operation with States and Governments
8.1 Co-management
8.2 Joint Cooperation Structures
8.2 Other Actors
8.3 Legislation and policy-making processes
9. Sustainability, Communication and Strategic Planning
9.1 To gain and keep sustainability in youth organisations
9.2 Communication
9.3 Strategic planning
This publication has a long history of coming to life. Started by the European Youth Forum
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
11. Sources and further reading
Youth Work Development working group in 2005, it has been revised and updated by the
Youth Work development working group for 2011-2012. It remains a work in progress.
At this point, we hope that it will help youth organisations, young people in Europe and
across the world to understand and improve their national youth councils.
Annex 2 – Structures
1. Introduction
Annex 1 – List of acronyms
This chapter explores different levels of youth work and explains the impact of youth
work, both on individuals and society. Then it elaborates on the function of the European
2.1 Levels of youth work within the country
Youth organisations are building and developing youth work, which happens on a local, regional, national and/or international level. As national youth councils are umbrella organisations and consist of organisations with different political and ideological interest and
different activities, various approaches, and varied forms of impact should be reflected
in a National Youth Council.
Youth organisations outreach can either be spread over the country like national youth
organisations, or limited to only a certain regional or local environment, like regional or local youth organisations. Some countries have a network of umbrella organisations known
as local or regional youth councils, to facilitate the involvement of young people on the
lowest level. They usually include different youth organisations from a certain area. Local
youth councils can merge into regional youth councils, and regional youth councils in a
new umbrella organisation on national level.
This is the case in Spain and Sweden where a national federation of youth councils exist.
Local and regional youth councils can also have a direct membership to the national youth
council like in FNG (Italian National Youth Council) where all regional youth councils are
National youth councils can also cooperate in different ways with local and regional
councils, such as in Slovenia, where local youth councils can not be members of MSS
(Slovenian National Youth Council), but MSS is in charge for cooperating with them,
2. Levels of youth work and why it is important for society
Youth Forum.
leading the coordination among them along with offering them different support via e.g.
Youth work leads also to better employability of youth. The individual gains certain com-
training, and capacity building.
petences through youth work, which s/he can use at the work place, to complete tasks
that may at the first sight bear no resemblance to those undertaken in youth work. Even
2.2 Levels of youth work outside the country
more potential is to be found in so-called soft skills development, such as communication
or teamwork. Sometimes youth work activities become one’s periodic or even permanent
employment. Other paths from youth work lead to the public sphere. Typical activities in
Some organisations focus their work on the international the – European – or even global –
this sense are cooperation in policy-development, youth advocacy or representation of an
level. Local, regional or national organisations can develop their international youth work
organisation at events.
by belonging to umbrella organisations on the European level. In Europe we know this
kind of organisations as International Non-Governmental Youth Organisation (INGYO),
European Youth Forum is an example of such pan-European platform where INGYO are
Reflection points
members and make up one of the two pillars of the Youth Forum. National Youth Councils
from all over Europe make up the other pillar. European Youth Forum both supports its
What are the levels of youth organisations in your country?
member organisations in strengthening youth work and develops youth work itself on
What can be the levels of youth organisations in your country?
European and global levels.
What is European Youth Forum?
2.3 Impact of youth work
What are the two pillars of European Youth Forum?
The impact of youth work can be seen both from the individual and the societal sides.
Individual impact —————————————————————————————————————
Spending time with friends, purposefully spending free time, travelling, gaining new
knowledge, developing personal skills, understanding the place and role of the individual
within a group, improving communication skills, developing a better image of oneself, improving self-confidence, accepting new challenges and learning new ways of proficiency.
Societal impact——————————————————————————————————————
Youth participation, strengthened social capital, intergenerational cooperation, better
youth employability and competences, stimulation of a healthy lifestyle, contribution to
social cohesion, development of innovative potential of youth, fostering tolerance in the
society, civic education and social change.
2. Levels of youth work and why it is important for society
2. Levels of youth work and why it is important for society
which are the federations of youth organisations.
This chapter addresses the main aspects of establishing National Youth Councils (NYCs).
The process of establishing a NYC is long term and faces different challenges. Therefore
a good and motivated team with a clear vision of establishment of a youth council is
needed. The process of establishment differs from one country to the other. The length
youth sector, availability of funds, capacity of organisations etc. For example, in Bulgaria
the process started in 2008 with a national debate about the Structured Dialogue and
young people in Bulgaria. The result of that meeting was the establishment of a Youth
Consultative Body, an informal structure which gave 52 representatives of youth organisations the ability to meet and discuss different topics with the State Agency for Youth
and Sport. Then in 2010, inspired by Networking days, organised by the European Youth
Forum, an initiative committee for establishment of a National Youth Council was formed,
which led to NMF (National Youth Forum of Bulgaria) holding its constitutional assembly
in November 2010.
3.1 Reasons for establishing National Youth Councils
The reasons for establishing a National Youth Council in a country can be explained
through different rationales, from the side of the youth organisations, or from the side of
external actors.
Internal ——————————————————————————————————————————
There are two main reasons why youth organisations see the need for the establishment
of umbrella organisations
l They see a common interest in joining forces in order to advocate on issues concerning them as a collective. The common goal for organisations is usually to lobby and
advocate youth issues towards government and/or international structures. 9
3. Establishment of National Youth Councils
of the establishment period is based on different factors, like the solidarity within the
l They see an advantage in working together in order to strengthen their internal ca-
3.2 Steps for establishment of a National Youth Council
pacities. Umbrella structures often serve as a good resource where organisations can
learn from each others' best practices
When working towards establishment of an umbrella structure certain steps need to be
taken for the process to be successful. The following steps give you an idea of how the
For example, the DUF (Danish Youth Council) was founded on the 25th of June 1940 by
process can look:
a range of youth organisations as a protest against the fascist trends at the time. They
did not want to be a part of the Danish resistance movement because they believed that
Coming together —————————————————————————————————————
democracy should be taught in a non-violent way through dialogue, participation, and
Involves (several) organisations or other stakeholders identifying that there is a need for a
information. The basic goals were to activate Danish youth and to spread the idea of de-
national youth council and coming together to start the process.
of its activities, the number of member organisations as well as fields of work. Another
Mapping the situation and stakeholders—————————————————————————
example can be taken from Lithuania. In the early 90's after several unsuccessful at-
Trying to see the youth policy field and those working in it in the country. Idea of different
tempts to create a National Youth Council in Lithuania (mostly due to both financial
key stakeholders for a National Youth Council could be young people, youth organisations,
and capacity reasons), finally, on September 19th 1992, LiJOT was established for the
umbrella organisations, student organisations, young politicians, youth wings of political
fourth time. The agreement was reached by 11 youth organisations that were convinced
parties and government institutions. Stating what is the current state of play and how
that the youth sector in Lithuania is capable of representing itself and can voice the
youth policy would benefit from having a NYC.
interest of young people on how the newly created country should be run.
Identifying stakeholders —————————————————————————————————
External ——————————————————————————————————————————
Especially those that would help in the process of establishing a NYC, taking into account
External motivations for establishment are prompted by initiatives coming from the gov-
both national and international levels.
ernment or international organisations. Usually the aim of the government is to foster a
wide outreach actor that deals with youth issues on a national level and represents youth
Making initial agreements ————————————————————————————————
organisations in their country internationally. The international organisations commonly
Especially on how to proceed further and sharing the responsibilities.
support the development of participation, civic engagement, democratisation on a wider
agenda. As a general rule, the external actors engage in facilitating the process. Often
Setting up task force ———————————————————————————————————
overlooked is that the establishment of umbrella structures is in the interest of wider
Ideally at the point of making initial agreements, a task force (initiative board or group) is
societal actors. By having structured ways of communicating with an important societal
formed. They will be responsible for facilitating the process further up until the Constituent
group, states and international organisations can better shape their policies targeting
assembly. These should be people that care about the process, understand the concept of
that group.
national youth councils and are motivated to work on the establishment.
Preparations for further agreements ———————————————————————————
The group is also responsible for making concrete suggestions for issues that need to be
settled, such as the legal statutes, membership criteria, finding funding for constituent
assembly, spreading the information, consultations etc. Their main task is to start discussions on the idea of establishing a National Youth Council with the stakeholders mapped.
3. Establishment of National Youth Councils
3. Establishment of National Youth Councils
mocracy as a way of living and thinking. Since its founding, DUF has increased the level
Reflection points
After having prepared the suggestions for all aspects mentioned above, a phase of consultations with other youth organisations (not involved the task force) needs to take place.
Does the youth sector in your country have solidarity?
This builds more awareness about what is being done, why it is important as well as ensures a transparent and democratic process.
Initiating a constituent assembly and information spread­
Is the reason for establishment of your National Youth Council
internal or external?
After building awareness of the process and having reached some consensus on different
issues the preparations for the Assembly can start. In this phase it is crucial to spread
Did you map important stakeholders of a your National Youth Council?
the information as widely as possible to different organisations, inviting them to join to
the platform.
Did you make a plan of how to proceed from idea to establishment?
Constituent Assembly———————————————————————————————————
Does your statues fulfil legal requirements?
Founding member organisations adopt the statutes, rules of procedure, elect the leader-
Do you want or need support from the European Youth Forum?
fining expectations. The number of founding members can vary but it is best to have as
broad range of youth organisations as possible for the youth council to be representative.
Did you investigate other support possibilities from international level
(institutions, other national youth councils)?
Post-Assembly period———————————————————————————————————
Poses as much challenges for newly created NYCs as the run-up period. One of the im-
Did the information reach all relevant stakeholders?
portant aspects is getting a legal status and starting to work on sustainability issues
such as obtaining funding, securing stable functioning, establishing internal information
channels and in the long run acquiring recognition as the main voice of youth interests
in the country.
It is important that different organisations involved focus on building an understanding
of what the national youth council does, how it functions, what roles it performs. Thus,
energy must be devoted to identifying a consensus on a vision, mission, work priorities,
procedures, values, membership criteria and statues. Also attention must be drawn to
observing the legal requirements for a non-governmental organisation in your country.
The next chapters elaborate on some of afore mentioned issues. Chapter 4 investigates
questions regarding membership; chapter 5 talks about the roles of youth councils, and
chapter 6 covers structures of youth councils.
The European Youth Forum sometimes supports the establishment process by providing
opportunities for organisations, interested in taking up the process, to meet and make
initial agreements. This has been the case in Serbia, Bulgaria and Poland, which all have
newly established youth councils.
3. Establishment of National Youth Councils
3. Establishment of National Youth Councils
ship of the organisation and set some common culture for the new organisation by de-
The driving force of youth umbrella organisations is their member organisations. Three
types of memberships are most common:
Full members ———————————————————————————————————————
Who hold the highest power within the organisation and have the right to be present,
speak, make suggestions and vote in statutory meetings along with nominating people
for working structures.
Usually hold the same rights as full members except for voting rights. Candidate member
status is normally used as a step from “not a member” to becoming a “full member”.
Observer/associate membership —————————————————————————————
Status is sometimes created to involve organisations that do not fulfil the membership
criteria or those organisations that do not wish to become a full member. Observer members usually have the right to be present at statutory meetings, speak there and make
suggestions but cannot vote.
As with all rights it is connected with responsibilities and therefore all members, regardless of what kind of membership status they have, have responsibilities towards the umbrella organisation, for example paying a membership fee (if such exists), being present
at statutory events and etc. Many umbrella organisations choose to have only two kinds
of memberships - observer/associate and full membership. This is the case in KOMS
(Serbian National Youth Council) and LJP (Latvian National Youth Council).
4. Members
Candidate members ———————————————————————————————————
4.1 Membership criteria
Following are few examples of different NYC membership criteria:
DUF (Danish Youth Council) member organisations work with children and youth and are
The members of each national youth council can differ. It can include organisations in
value-based and/or engaging their members in societal issues. Other important criteria
different field of work e.g., organisations for the disabled youth, social issue promotion
is that the organization has full autonomy and is democratic, works nationwide, meaning
youth organisations, religious youth organisations, cultural youth organisations, student
that it has presence in at least four out of five regions in Denmark, has at least 300 mem-
youth organisations, youth organisations for nature and environment, political/ ideologi-
bers under 30 years of age, and that at least half its members are under 35 years old.
cal youth organisations, youth exchange organisations and youth educational organisa-
The organization has to work and agree in accordance with DUF core democratic values.
tions and many others. Depending on the country legislation party political youth wings
In addition, DUFs assesses a membership request regarding the organization's degree
and sport youth organisations are members within a national youth council, however this
of voluntarism, democracy and the relationship between objectives and activities. New
is not always the case. As mentioned above, some NYCs create an observer/associate
member organisations are accepted during DUF annual general assembly.
membership status in order to include those organisations.
DBJR (German Federal Youth Council) has currently 26 nation-wide active youth organisaMembership criteria are specified in a combination of below mentioned aspects and can
tions and 16 regional youth councils as members. Furthermore, the Youth Council has ob-
server members that do not fulfil the criteria of membership (active in majority of the 16
federal states, at least 25,000 members). All member organisations have to support ba-
l Level of geographical scope coverage to be considered a national organisation. For exl Minimum number of members, for example organisations which have at least 100 or
5000 members. This criterion is typically set in accordance to the reality of the country.
sic values of the platform such as human rights principles, and organisations must have
a legal status (be registered). For external representation, three big national youth pillars
(Association of the Sport youth organisations, National Youth Council, and Association of
the party political youth) are united in one structure – DNK.
Organisations have to be legally registered in accordance to the rules set out by
Membership of MSS (Slovenian Youth Council) is based on the principles of free associa-
l Requirements to be youth led or have a certain amount/proportion of young members
tion, equality and mutual respect of the autonomy of each organisation member of MSS.
Full membership is open to voluntary, non-profit youth organisations that are defined as
in their governing bodies.
l Generally aim their activities and work for young people.
youth organisations and carry out public activities beneficial to children and youth or are
l Some NYCs choose to include the criteria for measuring if the organisation is active, for
registered according to the provisions of the law regulating political parties (in the case of
example that eligible members carry out a certain amount of activities during a year.
political party youth wings). Young people (aged 15-29) have to constitute at least 70% of
l Other requirements tailored to the national reality.
the membership and 70% of leadership. The organization has to operate independently
and democratically, have at least 300 members, who are organised into at least 5 organi-
Developed and functioning member organisations are key to sustaining a stable and
sational units within the organisation, and operate in at least 15 municipalities in differ-
strong National Youth Council. Therefore, some NYCs include in their membership crite-
ent geographical regions of the Republic of Slovenia. Organisations willing to become
ria specific requirements such as the time that organisations have to be registered before
members have to spend at least half a year as observer members within MSS before
they can apply for membership or the activity level they have to uphold.
applying for full membership. MSS General Assembly may also grant full membership
When defining the membership criteria it is important to explore the legal, economic, and
to organisations that do not fulfil the prerequisite of the minimum number of members
social conditions of NGOs in a given country to have a holistic view of the situation. Along
or the minimum number of organisational units, if such organisations claim association
with posing membership criteria for a NYCs, a clear and open process of the handling
with individual national ethnic or other social minorities, or its operation depends on in-
the membership applications (from how organisations apply to it attains the membership
frastructure or other circumstances reflecting uneven distribution over a larger region of
status or is rejected membership) should be developed.
the Republic of Slovenia. Associate membership is possible under similar rules, with the
exception of the minimum membership being at least 150 members.
4. Members
4. Members
ample, to work in a certain number of municipalities or regions.
ALLIANSSI (National Youth Council of Finland) has 112 national youth organisation as
members. They vary from church youth services to political youth organisations and to
non-political such as scouts and child well-fare NGO’s. The membership criteria describe
that members must be legally registered organisations or foundations, for at least one
year. Their main actions and work should focus on youth, youth work or youth services and
the organisation must act on a nation-wide level.
National Youth Councils essentially serve as the consolidated voice of young people
through youth organisations. A national representation structure eases the consultation
and information gathering process for governmental institutions as well as signifies the
unity of youth organisations in advocating for youth related issues.
that matter most to youth organisations and young people. Additionally National Youth
Councils provide information, capacity building and act as knowledge centers to member
4. Members
organisations. Some National Youth Councils focus essentially on advocacy and lobby
work, while others add up on capacity building for youth workers as well as their member
organisations, a third group have a strong international cooperation dimension. National
Youth Councils often play the role of innovators, developing and implementing pilot projects in new fields of work. All in all, National Youth Councils have a strong focus on
promoting the aspects of youth work mentioned above. Ideally the concrete alignment
of National Youth Council work is outlined in the mission and vision statements of the
organization and worked out in the strategic priorities or work plans. Nonetheless the
main roles of the National Youth Councils are representation and advocacy, international
cooperation, providing material support, capacity building, awareness raising, and building up know-how about the sector.
5.1 Representation, advocacy and lobby work
One of the most important parts of National Youth Council work is influencing policies
that affect young people. National youth councils represent the interests of young people
through their member organisations. Since youth policy is regarded as a cross-sectorial
policy National Youth Councils might end up raising questions starting from employability to youth work value to non-formal education to sport policies etc. For National Youth
Councils it is important to establish themselves as equal partners for the government in
5. Roles of National Youth Councils
Most National Youth Councils focus the majority of their efforts on advocating for changes
decision-making. Ideally structured such as co-managed boards or councils exist where
5.4 Capacity building
authority and non-governmental representatives meet on equal footing.
For example, CJE (the Spanish Youth Council) works extensively in advocating for more
Most National Youth Councils provide a wide array of capacity building tools and meth-
youth friendly polices in the employment field by participating in different committees
odology for member organisations. This might vary from developing complex and elabo-
and governmental meetings and presenting their suggestions. LNU (the Norwegian Youth
rated sustainability systems, offering targeted training courses, or providing access to
Council) is trying to lower the voting age to 16 by arranging meeting with the Norwegian
methodological material, such as specific books. Also it could be employing or keeping
Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. NYCR (the Russian Youth Council) ar-
close contact with specific services such as legal consultants or accountants to provide
ranges regular meetings with the ministry responsible for youth representatives to dis-
consultations when needed.
cuss the youth policy field. National youth councils can hold meetings with the Prime
Ministers or Presidents to achieve more visibility for youth policies.
5.2 International cooperation
5.5 Awareness-raising and introducing new topics
National Youth Councils often are front-runners in identifying new topics and areas of
mental institutions to be more aware and reactive to changes affecting youth. National
and those from abroad, thus providing support in developing international cooperation.
Youth Councils also have the possibility to draw visibility towards topics neglected by
Often they help to find partners from other countries or work on specific topics on the
international level, for example United Nations related issues.
For example, DNK (the external representation German Youth Council) has a particular focus on strengthening international cooperation in the field of youth. LNU (the Norwegian
Youth Council) and DUF (the Danish Youth Council) run and support special programs
5.6 Knowledge and know-how centre
for youth work and youth policy
for international cooperation in specific regions, such as South East Europe. CNJC (the
Catalan Youth Council) on a regular basis organises international training for their mem-
National Youth Councils by nature utilize grass-root experience and a variety of spe-
bership to foster international cooperation with their regional partners.
cific knowledge from its members, thus proving possibilities to address youth policy in a
cross-sectorial manner. National Youth Councils also try to build up resources and collect
know-how to support their advocacy actions. For example, some National Youth Councils
5.3 Material support
publish publications on specific topics or carry out research on the impact of policies for
youth. Some National Youth Councils build knowledge through assembling thematic com-
In many countries where youth work still suffers from scarce resources, National Youth
mittees or working groups.
Councils offer working space, equipment and meeting facilities for member organisations, while those are working to build own sustainability. National Youth Councils can act
as guarantee givers for purchases or empower their member organisations to benefit from
already built relationships (for example use a discount while booking a venue).
For example, national Youth Councils in Northern Europe (in Denmark, Norway and
Finland) manage governmental funding schemes for different priorities. Thus, they act as
funding providers for member and other organisations. DNYC (the Dutch National Youth
Council) allows their membership to use their premises for activities.
5. Roles of National Youth Councils
5. Roles of National Youth Councils
work concerning young people, thus encouraging member organisations and governNational Youth Councils act as an interlocutor between Youth NGOs from their countries
Reflection points
What is the main role of your organisation?
Does your National Youth Council perform all the above mentioned roles?
Which area of work is most important for a National Youth Council
in your country?
What different actions does your National Youth Council do to embody
the different roles?
The function of a structure in an organisation can be compared with the function of the
skeleton in the human body. The structure is the base that carries the organisation and
all other things are added to the structure in order for the organisation to function. An
organisations does not only function based on the structure, it needs other things just like
5. Roles of National Youth Councils
organisation to build up a good well-functioning structure.
6.1 Structures
Normally organisational structures are divided in to two types, linear or federal structure.
Linear structure is a hierarchy structure and can be both tall and flat. Federal structure is
circular structure and can take on various form, e.g. project management structure or
networking structure.1
No one type of structure is best for all youth organisations as it is in the hands of each
organisation to define and design the structure that best fits to their mission and goals.
Though most youth organisations share common values (values are openness, inclusiveness, transparency, representativity and democratic decision making) that have an influence on their final choice of structure. Most National Youth Council have some kind of
federal structure. This type of arrangement often fits when independent organisations or
entities work together toward common goals and interests like in National Youth Councils.
The board of a National Youth Council does not have the authority to take decision regarding each member organisation, hence the member organisations are independent.
The ground structure of a National Youth Council is drawn in their statues, which should
clearly devise how the council works, who can make decision and who is responsible
toward whom so decisions are legitimate. Clear procedures of decision-making are
1. Based on Organisational Management T-kit, 2000.
6. Structure of National Youth Councils
the human body needs e.g. muscles to be able to move. Therefore it is important to every
essential in order to follow the values of democracy, openness and transparency. The
General Assemblies can be closed (where only member organisations can participate) or
legitimacy of decision-making is based on the working structures decided up on in the
they can be open for other groups like young people, not involved in Youth Organisations,
statues. Organisations differentiate what kind of working structures are included in the
institutional partners etc. Usually partners and other non-member groups do not have
statues but the statues should at least include rules on meeting of members (representa-
voting rights in these meetings.
tive body) and a board (executive body). Other working structures within an organisation
The structure also sets how many votes or delegates can a member organization have.
can be different and is up to each organisation to decide. It is though important for each
Voting rights can be equal (e.g. one vote per member organisation) or can be based on
National Youth Council to take a look at their national laws on non-profit organisations in
size of member organisations, meaning bigger organisations have more votes than the
order to be able to fulfil them and become registered.
smaller ones. Also more intricate systems can be developed based on assigning organisations to pillars, which have an equal weight of vote or elaborate different percentage
Further structures of National Youth Councils often develop during time and can be in
weights for pillars to equalise the system.
or activities that become traditions. Because these structures might not be explicitly laid
The exact responsibilities of a General Assemblies should be laid out in the statues.
down in the statutes it is as important that decision making is transparent and legitimate.
Following points should also be included in the statues:
A well-designed structure is necessary for all organisations, however it is important to
l time frame for the meeting (how often the meeting takes place and when during the
keep in mind that even though structures are the ground for the organisations it is not so
year it should be held),
holy that it can't be changed; structure is dynamic and develops as the organisation de-
hen at the latest meeting dates should be announced to members,
velops. The structure should work for the people and not the other way around. Therefore
hen at latest all relevant documents should be available for members,
it is important to find the line between a simple and clear structure and one that fits the
hen the meeting is legitimate (e.g. how many members have to be represent),
organisation's purpose and nature.
ow the meeting is announced (e.g. with a letter, by email, in a newsletter etc.),
ow members can request an extraordinary meeting.
6.2 Representative body
Some National Youth Councils hold smaller gatherings of member organisations in
between General Assemblies. They then often work on what was decided on at the General
The highest decision making body of a National Youth Council is always a meeting that
Assemblies and focus more on issues rather than administrative things. These bodies
gathers all member organisations. These meetings are normally held once a year or
are often called Council of Members but can have other names like Standing Committee,
once every two years and can have different names like General Assemblies, Members'
Council of Representatives, representative committee etc.
Council, Agora etc. These meetings (hereafter General Assembly) mainly have following
lection of executive bodies and other bodies named in the statues;
aking political and strategic decisions for the youth council's work;
making financial decisions (adopting budget and accepting the annual financial
dopting and amending the statues and other working rules;
other decisions and actions defined by the statues, often include accepting new
6. Structure of National Youth Councils
6. Structure of National Youth Councils
form of ad hoc working groups, agreements between working structures, board and staff
6.3 Executive body
6.4 Other working structures
The most common name for executive body of an organisation is a “board”, but it can
Apart from the elected representatives, National Youth Councils have bodies envisaged by
also be called bureau, executive committee, steering committee, presidency or presidi-
the statutes, appointed by the board or formed ad hoc according to urgent or momentary
um. This body (here after board) holds the power between General Assemblies. The main
developments. These bodies can be working groups, committees, steering groups, expert
role of the board is to make sure that the organisation is working towards its goals and
groups, commissions, usually defined by the topics or issues they cover. These structures
implementing the work plans along with making sure that the organisation has the neces-
are either commissions for internal issues, among which financial control and member-
sary resources for its work, supervision of the organisations projects, financial manage-
ship issues, or based on content (education, human rights, youth policy, social inclusion,
ment and recruitment of a Secretary General. In some organisations the approval of the
employment, etc.).
Secretary General is in the powers of the General Assembly. There is a lot of available
These sub-structures have many advantages. They ensure a better involvement and par-
information on the functions of non-profit boards and how their functions might differ and
ticipation of the Member Organisations in the development of strategic proposals for the
many definition exist on what boards should do, thus in the end of the chapter is a list of
board in certain areas of work and policy development as well as an enhanced level of
suggested reading on the subject.
knowledge and information sharing and efficiency. They also create spaces for motivating
knowledge, building solidarity and creating a common ground. These working structures
size of the National Youth Council. Usually the board composes of a president, vice-
serve as a resource and knowledge base for developing policy and expertise on the issues
president/s and board members that follow specific policy and working areas. Some
of interest for the National Youth Council. Typically one disadvantage is that decision
Youth Organisations divide executive structures by areas or tasks and responsibilities,
making can be more complex and can take longer. In order to minimize this it is important
while others do not have a ranking, and the body itself is considered as a monolith struc-
to define the roles of each structure and not to create too many of them. Before the struc-
ture with collective decision making and responsibility. Boards are normally elected by
ture starts to work it can be useful to write a letter of appointment including following:2
the General Assembly and are therefore responsible toward the GA. If there are layers in
the board structure (e.g. one big board and then smaller one that meets more often) the
hort statement on why this working structure is needed,
responsibility cycle usually is that the board elected by the GA is responsible towards the
ain tasks of the working structure,
GA, but the smaller boards answer to the board elected at the GA.
oals for the working period,
For example, in the KOMS (the Serbian Youth Council), the board consists of seven people
ho are the members and how were they selected (the method),
elected at the General Assembly. It meets at least four times a year. The term for board
l t o whom the working structure is responsible towards,
members is two years and each person can be re-elected once. Board members can
ow long the working structure is going to work.
not be come older than 30 during their mandate. The DNYC (the Dutch National Youth
Council) elects a board of 7 members aged 18-29 for a one-year mandate. The board
Many National Youth Councils have monitoring committees (they can also be called su-
members do not have to have connection with organised youth. The board is selected
pervision committees, control committees or audit committees). The roles of those com-
through a separate committee which is chaired by a former board member and consists
mittees usually are to make sure that the councils are run according to the statues and
of representatives from member organisations, volunteers and either a former employee
other legal documents, assessing compliance problems and monitoring and inspecting
or intern. The board of LiJOT (the Lithuanian Youth Council), is formed of eight people
the finance of the councils.
and meets once a month. The President of LiJOT has special tasks including proposing
the construction of the Secretariat, which is formed as the Presidents team meaning the
staff contracts are singed for the period of the President's candidacy.
2. Based on Kristmundsson, 2008
6. Structure of National Youth Councils
6. Structure of National Youth Councils
and actively involving member organisations, offering a space for learning and sharing
The board can have different sizes and compositions depending on the capacity and
6.5 Staff
While some National Youth Councils have a large professionally hired team to manage the
daily work and implementation of decisions, others function entirely on voluntary basis.
The size and number of staff depends on the financial capacities and the spectrum of
work of the National Youth Council. Despite this, much of the work in a National Youth
Council involves volunteers from member organisations.
When the first staff member is recruited the role of the board changes and it has to work
less on day-to-day work and can focus more on governance work. This sometimes leads to
sions staff member can take without consulting the board in order to avoid conflicts. This
Funding plays a crucial role in the existence of a youth umbrella structure. The type of
division of tasks between staff and board can differ from organisation to organisation
funding defines the direction and areas of work, the extent of independence and sustain-
and vary even more as more staff members are recruited. Therefore it helps to have the
ability of the organisation. Primary strategic goal for every youth organisation in the area
roles clearly defined.
of funding should be to establish a framework where funding follows the programmes and
goals of the organisation and not vice versa. Unfortunately, that is not always possible,
even though any non-governmental youth organisation should always strive towards the
mentioned goal.
Reflection points
Funding mechanisms can be administered in different ways. In this division it is important to distinguish the organisations structure of funding from sources of funding. The
What kinds of structures exist in your National Youth Council?
understanding of difference is vital in order to develop in accordance with previously
mentioned strategic goal and to keep the long-term financial situation of the organisation
Is there balance between decision-making powers inside the structures?
Is the decision making in your National Youth Council transparent and
7.1 Structures of funding for National Youth Councils
Does the workload in your National Youth Council require staff employment?
There are two main structures of funding for youth umbrella organisations.
Is your National Youth Council ensuring the participation of all the
l Administrative funding;
Does your National Youth Council have committees, working groups or other
content bodies?
Administrative Funding ——————————————————————————————————
l Project funding.
Administrative funding is used for the day-to-day functioning of the organisation ensuring equipment, premises, staff and all the other running costs to function on needed and
satisfactory level. Administrative funding ensures the material and structural sustainability of the organisation and enables it to undertake its functions. For NYCs, administrative funding usually comes from governmental programs, designed for the national
youth council. It might be given in a form of a project application or simply as a lump
7. Financing National Youth Council
6. Structure of National Youth Councils
conflicts between volunteers (board) and staff. It is a good rule to decide on which deci-
sum of money. For INGYOs, structural funding usually comes from the Youth in Action
Membership Fees —————————————————————————————————————
All youth umbrella organisations are membership based and the membership fee is the
common source of income for all organisations no matter the level of their develop-
Project Funding ——————————————————————————————————————
ment. In some cases like the CJE (Spanish Youth Council) and the LAEF (Icelandic Youth
Project funding represents financial means that are meant for certain actions, activities,
Council) the membership fee has a symbolic character, which has little impact on the total
policies or work plans for which the money has been granted, and it is therefore condition-
budget. However, for many organisations it is the main source of income like for NCYOG
al to the aims and objectives of the specific project. This kind of financial means are not
(Georgian Youth Council).
meant for re-allocation or re-balance. Despite this, many youth umbrella organisations
use project funding to cover their operational costs. Still project funding cannot be used
Governmental Funds ———————————————————————————————————
as a long-term contribution to the financial sustainability of the organisation.
In a number of countries National Youth Councils receive support from the state. State
Project funding can come from a variety of organisations and institutions on national,
implementation. This is the case of the RMS (Slovak Youth Council). In some countries,
European or global level. Organisations should search for project funding opportunities
like in Lithuania, there is a separate budget line for administrative costs and also dif-
on all levels, but the EU youth programme Youth in Action and its successor in the new EU
ferent funding possibilities for projects. Some systems, like the French or the Flemish
financial framework (2014–2018), remain very important. As well as look into other EU
youth councils, have 3-year agreements with the governments on funding and coopera-
based finance resources for projects dealing with young people, programmes and tenders
tion. These agreements are based on 3-year plans and programs that are ensured state
of Council of Europe and calls or tenders from numerous foundations based in Europe.
funding. The ENL (Estonian Youth Council) gets funding from the education ministry on
It’s important to note that project funds on international level usually require partners
the national level and also realises administrative funds for youth clubs and project fund-
from different states.
ing for local projects on the local level (counties and municipalities).
Local funds are also accessible for Youth NGOs; often these are meant for project imple-
7.2 Funding sources
mentation. There is also the possibility to allocate a part of taxes and profits made from
lotteries and legal gambling for the funding of Youth NGOs. This is the case in Denmark,
Main funding sources for umbrella youth organisations are:
Sweden and Finland where the National Youth Councils receive a percentage of the profits achieved through the national lottery in name of National Youth Policy funding, which
l Membership fees;
then is redistributed to youth organisations via different programs. Slovenia and Slovakia
l Governmental Funds;
both have a system where individual taxpayer and legal entities may assign up to 0.5% in
l International Funds;
Slovenia and 1% in Slovakia of their annual tax base to finance specified sphere of non-
l Donors;
governmental sector and in case of Slovenia also political parties and Unions. Project
l Private Sector Contributors.
funding can be accessed through thematic work, such as health, sports, culture, education, and other from state and private donors. Such is the case of Luxembourg, where
Even though funding sources are diverse, by far the largest source of funding for National
CGJL (Luxembourgian Youth Council) gets funds from the Ministry for Family and Social
Youth Councils comes from government bodies or allocation of state control funds. In
Affairs but also from other ministries and budget lines for thematically related projects.
many cases funding is provided through Ministry of Youth or similar state bodies that are
dealing with youth. For INGYOs, the funding comes mainly through international funders
International Funds and Donors ——————————————————————————————
and from membership fees.
Many National Youth Councils use international funds for their projects, in the cases
when their needs coincide with the funding priorities of the granting institution. External
funding can stream from the International Organisations like the United Nations and
7. Financing National Youth Council
7. Financing National Youth Council
funding is given either as administrative support, or through public tenders for project
its different organisations, the European Union, foreign countries through their develop-
7.4 Other Funding Sources
ment programmes as well as different foundations or trusts (political foundations, etc.).
Although there are different funding resources, main responsibility for covering adminis-
Despite conditionality, and often, bureaucratic procedures, international and local donors
trative costs lies with the state of the given National Youth Council. The fact that the state
provide rather substantial aid and support the development of civil society in Europe, es-
provides funds for the youth sector varies from country to country and depends on the
pecially when it comes to transition countries. In those countries, such source of funding
level of civil society development. It is often the case that state funding without interfer-
represented a key factor in building up civil society and Youth Organisations.
ence is taken for granted. On the other hand, when it comes to countries from Central,
Most known international funds on European level are the Youth in Action programme
Eastern and South Eastern Europe, it is defined differently and is seen as direct depend-
(not available to every National Youth Council ) and European Youth Foundations at the
ence on the state.
Council of Europe. There are numerous foundations, tenders and call for grants where
National Youth Councils can apply for project funding. More information on international
Whether getting guaranteed state funding, or not, National Youth Councils need to diversi-
funds is in Chapter 11.
fy the funding sources and models in order to achieve a higher level of independence and
Council to fully function and represent the needs of young people without hindrances
Business based funding is the resource that is yet to be explored by most National Youth
caused by funding that is conditioned and, sometimes one-sided.
Councils in Europe. There are examples of developing cooperation between business
and National Youth Councils like in the case of the NYCR (Russian Youth Council), LSU
(Swedish Youth Council) and the LiJOT (Lithuanian Youth Council) that have been looking
into possibilities to cooperate with the business sector under the schemes of corporate
Reflection points
social responsibility.
Do you see business companies as partners or rather a possible source
for funding?
7.3 Corporate Social Responsibility
How are society needs reflected in your work?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is starting to play an important role in the work of
civil society, which could be used for the benefit of youth work as it opens great potential
for cooperation between NGOs and business.
Is Corporate Social Responsibility used by your organization?
If not, would your members find it useful?
World Business Council on Sustainable Development came up with the following definition of CSR: "Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to
Where is funding on the priority list of your organisation?
behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life
of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large". The
How can project funding contribute to sustainability of your organisation?
main idea is that strong cooperation between civil sector (NGOs), business and government could lead to sustainable and tangible results. For National Youth Councils this can
mean that their efforts could be backed by the support from other two counterparts.
Is administrative funding the way to secure autonomy from
the other stakeholders in the field of youth?
Such level of cooperation can be defined around a topic that is equally important to all
Have you considered diversifying your organisation’s funding models?
the stakeholders.
These kinds of partnership are yet to be developed but some international organisations and
National Youth Councils are starting to work in this direction both as topic and approach.
3. N
ational Youth Councils should also consider applying to their National Agency responsible for YiA in their respective country http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/youth/index_en.php
7. Financing National Youth Council
7. Financing National Youth Council
ensure their long term sustainability. This kind of solution can help the National Youth
Private Sector ———————————————————————————————————————
Cooperation between National Youth Councils and the State reflects the level of participation of young people in the process of managing the society they are a part of. It is important to note that this level is a consequence of the framework of cooperation between
known as Hart’s ladder of participation researched the concept of participation of young
people in different structures and projects.
Roger Hart's Ladder of Young People's Participation
Rung 8 —
Young people & adults share decision-making
Rung 7 —
Young people lead & initiate action
Rung 6 —
Adult-initiated, shared decisions with young people
Rung 5 —
Young people consulted and informed
Rung 4 —
Young people assigned and informed
Rung 3 —
Young people tokenized*
Rung 2 —
Young people are decoration*
Rung 1 —
Young people are manipulated*
Note: Hart explains that the last three rungs are non-participation
Adapted from Hart, R. (1992). Children's participation from Tokenism to Citizenship. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
Roger Hart intended the first three rungs to represent forms of non-participation. However,
while the first rung generally represents the nature of all youth voice in communities with
the threat of “attend or fail”, there are more roles for youth than ever before throughout
the education system. Rungs 6, 7, and 8 generally represent “young person/adult partnerships”, or intentional arrangements designed to foster authentic youth engagement
in communities.
8. Co-operation with States and Governments
National Youth Council and the State as it is established. Roger Hart who defined a model
National Youth Councils should work towards a model of cooperation with the State that
8.2 Joint Cooperation Structures
would satisfy the criteria of Rung 8 of the Hart ladder. The only model fulfilling those criteria at the moment is co-management, which is fully implemented only within Council
Youth representation towards the state differs. Some countries have no joint youth coordi-
of Europe. It is strongly suggested that National Youth Councils develop their models of
nation structures on the national level, which makes it difficult for National Youth Councils
cooperation with the State to be as co-manageable as possible.
to cooperate or co-manage with the state. This happens for two main reasons:
l for non-inclusion of youth in the consultation and decision making process by the state,
r because of the will of the organisations themselves.
The basis for co-management streams from the assumption that youth is a resource and
The LSU (Swedish Youth Council) identifies taking part in such structures as a possible
therefore a real partner. The basic principle of co-management is making decisions on
danger for its independence. Nonetheless, LSU is involved and included in the process but
an equal footing both for youth and governmental representatives. Within the Council of
more as a consultation provider than as a part of a formal structure.
Europe, youth representatives are recognised as stakeholders taking equal part in the
There are different levels of institutional incorporation of youth in decision-making on
decision-making processes of the Directorate of Youth and Sport. The members of the
youth issues. Depending on the administrative organization of the state, joint coopera-
Advisory Council for Youth have the right to follow youth policy processes and actions,
tion structures exist at local, regional and/or national level. Such joint structures deal-
presenting, deciding and monitoring its implementation. This brings a qualitative change
ing exclusively with youth issues exist, for example, in Iceland, Slovenia or Lithuania.
in the process as civil society representatives are usually only consulted by governments.
In addition, often National Youth Councils are involved in thematic working groups that
Co-management means to be given the responsibility to develop policies and agree on
encompass youth as a target group, such as education, sports, health, addictions, sexual
programmes together with government representatives. It is an inclusive process that
education etc.
balances the power of the authorities with the influence and inclusions of the youth rep-
In most cases, the cooperation structures represent a consultative body and a forum for
resentatives. On the one side, the state administers the national youth policy and provides
the youth voice to be heard. Co-decision or power sharing in the field of youth between the
funding for projects and administrative purposes. On the other side, youth organisations
Youth NGOs and the state rarely exists. Still, inputs given by youth organisations and their
offer activities, representation and services to youth and the state. Apart from the ex-
ideas are often taken in consideration by the state. Sometimes, even if there is no official
change of benefits, the system is based on a stakeholder relationship between the main
and formal co-management structure, the process of cooperation, consultation and liai-
actors. The actors have to make decisions and achieve goals in a balanced and synchro-
son is in place (e.g. Sweden). Netherlands is a similar case where the state recognises the
nized way. The inclusion and the interaction between the state and youth stakeholders in
DNYC (Dutch Youth Council) as the main national coordination body in the country but it
a country differ qualitatively and quantitatively depending on the capacity and the level of
does not build co-management structures. DNYC is taken in consideration and consulted
trust between the two main partners: state and Youth NGOs.
on youth issues even though not on a regular basis.
8.2 Other Actors
Apart from national youth councils and state, there are other actors in the field of youth.
Some organisations are not registered under laws on NGOs. For example, student unions
or different sectorial organisations and in some countries also political party youth wings
and youth NGOs that are strong players in the fields they are active. These organisations
are active in the field of youth and carry specific responsibilities regarding a sector or
aspect of youth policy and youth work.
8. Co-operation with States and Governments
8. Co-operation with States and Governments
8.1 Co-management
In some countries, especially the ones in transition or a post-conflict period, external
A youth strategy/action plan ———————————————————————————————
funding providers are a strong actor in the field of youth. Foundations, intergovernmen-
Is a short or mid-term political framework identifying main priorities of the state in the
tal organisations, embassies of other countries or international NGOs have proven to be
field of youth policy. Strategies are usually accompanied by action plans.
significant actors in the process of civil society and youth work development in transi-
Some countries do not have comprehensive laws or programmes of action, but rather
tion countries. National Youth Councils and youth NGOs from the EU Member States of-
function based on a set of agreements that identify priorities, tasks and responsibilities
ten identify the EU institutions, especially the National Agencies4, as important external
for the main stakeholders. Such is the case of Italy and Denmark.
youth actors in their countries.
Following the principle of no youth policy without youth, National Youth Councils and Youth
8.3 Legislation and policy-making processes
Organisations in Europe have been actively involved in the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of national youth policy. National Youth Councils need
In Europe, the youth field is governed by a variety of legal frameworks, enumerating law,
plementation. Some National Youth Councils have strong relations with parliaments, as
regulations, directives, strategies, or action/operational plans. Depending on the admin-
these are the bodies initiating and/or adopting new legislation. Others cooperate well
istrative organisation of the state, decision-making and implementation is either:
with the governments, as these are mainly responsible for carrying out youth policy, and
implementing existing legislation.
entralised, whereby national authorities are primarily responsible for youth policy;
l decentralised, whereby local authorities are primarily responsible for youth policy or
responsibilities are shared between the two.
In some countries, international organisations have played an important facilitation and
support role, ensuring good cooperation between the government and youth organisations in developing new legislation. Thus, UNICEF Georgia helped the government develop
Thus, in Russian Federation, the federal authorities identify strategic priorities in the
a new Youth Strategy in 2011-2012 and pledged subsequent support in implementing
field of youth, while each subject of the federation may have own legislative and financial
this strategy, while in Azerbaijan several UN agencies have been actively involving the
instruments supporting youth work and policy development, and local authorities have
NAYORA (Azeri Youth Council) as a partner in the implementation of the Millennium
mostly implementation responsibilities, despite financial constraints. While in process of
Development Goals.
decentralisation, Bulgaria places the main responsibility for youth policy implementation
on local authorities, and national structures responsible for youth serve as coordinators.
Shared responsibility often brings out the imbalance between the power of decisionmaking and capacity of implementation.
Youth law —————————————————————————————————————————
Is the most general and comprehensive legislative framework that identifies main stakeholders and fields of action both for state and NGOs working with and for young people.
In addition, it defines youth and youth institutions, youth age limit, actions to be taken by
the state and to whom they are targeted, financial and budgetary considerations.
4. N
ational agencies (NA) represent an important stakeholder/interlocutor in the youth field on national level and we can find different examples
of cooperation with them in implementing youth projects and guidelines for youth policies. Even the role of National agency can be seen in various ways
being a private or public institution. The relationship among NYC and NA can therefore also be seen in different manners and the cooperation is therefore
ranging from partnership to putting the NYC in the same position as all others youth organisations, which defines and affect also the funding allocation
from NA to NYC. As NA normally plays an important role in shaping youth policies and providing resources for developing youth work by funding
the projects, cooperating with them can bring an added value and a stronger representative of youth sector.
8. Co-operation with States and Governments
8. Co-operation with States and Governments
to identify which of the state structures are more influential in decision-making and im-
Reflection points
Is the youth policy field centralized or decentralized in your country?
Are you targeting the right state actors in your lobby work?
Can you diversify your partnership with state actors?
Are you cooperating with other stakeholders in the field of youth?
What legal framework regulates youth policy and youth work
in your country?
Sustainability is important for organisations. Without sustainability it is hard to create the
necessary capacity to have a real impact and reach the organisation's goals. Key elements
8. Co-operation with States and Governments
below tackle these important issues.
Is your organisation monitoring/ proposing improvement of national youth
policy to answer the needs of all young people in your country?
9.1 To gain and keep sustainability in youth organisations
Sustainability is the ability of organisations to administer their own resources and remain
Is there co-management and cooperation between your organisation
and the state in your country?
independent in conducting their own projects and activities. Sustainability is important
for youth organisations in order for them to exist and work without endangering their
financial, political or membership independence. Reaching full sustainability can some-
Should the cooperation mechanisms between National Youth Councils
and the state be institutionalised?
times be hard, due to the frequent change of people involved and often lack of stable
To which extent should the co-management stretch in terms
of power sharing and co-decision?
A strong infrastructure, systematic work, good planning and diversity in funding are
financial resources.
essential both to gain and maintain sustainability in youth organisations. The base for
strong infrastructure is laid out in the statues and with a well functioning structure it is
Are cooperation structures a danger for the independence
of National Youth Council?
easier to systematise work. Systematic work also comes from good planning (find more
information in chapter 9.3 on strategic planning)
Since National Youth Councils are membership based, decisions on who can become a
member are important. Membership criteria are discussed in Chapter 4. The organisation has not only to accept members but also to foster an inclusive internal culture. A culture and traditions can play an important role in keeping sustainability of organisations. A
culture of learning, sharing, documenting and open communication are positive and can
help to stabilise your organisation along with a positive atmosphere of inclusion and cooperative ways of working. This means keeping communication, activities and governance
open and transparent, at the same time learn from mistakes by looking at them through
9. Sustainability, Communication and Strategic Planning
in securing a sustainable organization are planning and active communication. The parts
Is there regular consultation/cooperation with youth organisations
on new legislative initiatives?
a positive prism, observe them and re-frame your knowledge. Including new people in
Today most youth organisations have a website and use electronic or online tools to
activities and structures are important ways of sustaining a youth organisations human
communicate and provide information. Other means of communication can be through
resources and know-how.
printed newsletters, formal letters, physical meetings and by telephone. Following is a list
of tools that can be used for communication and information flow:
Following are things to keep in mind in order to run a stable and sustainable youth
l Websites are usually used as the main source for information about structure, activities
and people responsible for organisations along with roles, goals, and vision and mission
l Know where your organisation is heading by having a clear vision, mission and goals
for your council.
published on websites;
l Foster a culture of cooperation and effective handover of responsibilities to new people.
ake written plans in co-operation with members and budget in advance.
upervise staff members, to ensure growth of capacity.
ork according to plans and other decisions made within your youth council.
l Make sure that your organisation's work does not become routine. Adapt it to the reality in the society.
l Intranet on websites is used by many youth organisations. Usually members can find all
relevant documents and information about the organisation and communicate directly
with other members;
l Social media tools e.g. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have many possibilities for communication and information sharing;
honing or sending text messages;
l Regular printed or online newsletters are used by many organisations to keep their
members updated about the latest news, statutory meetings and other opportunities
9.2 Communication
for members;
hysical meetings, conferences, training or seminars;
Communication in an organisation is twofold, internal and external. Internal communica-
l Regular updates through printed or online letters addressed to member organisations;
tion means communication inside your youth council, between board and staff and your
olicy papers, reports, opinion papers and resolutions;
members. External communication means communication outside of your youth council,
rinted/online magazines;
for example, with funders, other organisations, governments, youth etc.
etworking events.
Internal communication —————————————————————————————————
It is advisable to use a combination of different tools to maximise the outreach of infor-
In order to maintain open and transparent internal communication with member organi-
mation provided by the organisation.
sations it is good to identify the means of communication and what are the best ways for
information to flow both from and to members. There are many tools that can be used to
External communication —————————————————————————————————
communicate and share information in effective way, but effective communication is not
Youth umbrella organisations also maintain external communication and it is as impor-
only about finding the right tools. Members and structures within the youth organisation
tant as communications with members. As umbrella organisations, they often offer other
have to be aware of the tools used and where to find information. The choice of tools de-
actors services in form of knowledge and information on youth. Some of the tools men-
pends on how big the organisation is, what kind of information it wants to provide, which
tioned above can also be valid for external communication such as magazines and news-
resources it has and the geographical location of members. For example it makes little
letters, social media tools, conferences and seminars, policy and/or opinion papers, re-
sense to base the information flow on physical meetings in youth organisations where
ports and resolutions and of course the youth councils website. Other means of external
members have to travel a long way and financial resources are not available to cover the
communication tools are e.g.
cost of such meetings. At the same time exclusively relying on online communication
does not function if members do not have good and regular internet access.
9. Sustainability, Communication and Strategic Planning
9. Sustainability, Communication and Strategic Planning
of the organisation, its members and news. All kinds of other information can also be
ress releases;
Strategic planning serves as a tool to identify the steps needed to reach the goals and
ress conferences;
fulfil the vision of the organisation. It is important to keep in mind that the process of
l Interviews;
strategic planning is as important as the plan itself. Before getting started with strategic
ampaigns and advertisements;
planning an organisation should ask the following questions:
pen door events;
ccess through phone, email or opening hours at the office;
1. Are we ready to commit to strategic planning, including all major internal stakeholders
of our organisation?
These lists above are not necessarily exhaustive and each youth umbrella organisation has
2. Do we have available time and resources needed?
to find what suits them best. Imagination, open mind and creativity can help finding the
3. Do we have the right people to lead the planning process?
right communication and information tools.
4. Is there resistance to strategic planning, if so, what is the criticism and how do we address it?
Good internal/external image and reputation is important for all organisations. To keep
Ways of strategic planning are e.g. Issue-base planning, Alignment Model, Scenario
and gain new members, get funds and support, be taken seriously a good image and
Planning and self-organising Planning. Many authors have also written books on strategic
reputation is needed. It is not built on advertisement or commercial products, mostly it is
planning including John Bryson's famous book Strategic Planning for Public and non-
based on how we work, therefore the most important thing in image building is working
profit organisations where he explains strategic planning based on 10 steps needed to go
according to one's goals and keeping to ones word! It takes a long time to build up a good
through for organisations to reach their goals. Bryson book along with the following fur-
image and reputation but it can go away in a very short time. All kinds of situations can
ther reading suggestion are amongst many publication and internet articles that can help
occur that can effect image and reputation and therefore it is important to have execution
your organisation finding the best way to get involved in strategic planning.
plans on what to do if difficult situations occur. Such plans help people to know how to
react to hindrance and maybe save the organisation from a damaged reputation.
9.3 Strategic planning
Strategic planning is an important tool in order to achieve sustainability and efficiency of
a National Youth Council. It is a tool where organisations, through a systematic process,
formulate a vision, mission, goals and objectives, define roles and produces “fundamental
decision and actions that shape and guide what an organisation […] is, what it does and way
it does it.”5 Additional advantages include team building, promotion of common ground,
producing new way of thinking, and helping to build a good image. Strategic planning can
be used organisation-wide, for a department, project or other major functions.
5. B
ryson, 2004, p. 6
9. Sustainability, Communication and Strategic Planning
9. Sustainability, Communication and Strategic Planning
Image and reputation ——————————————————————————————————
Reflection points
In which way does your organisation achieve sustainability?
How important is strategic planning for your organisation?
Does your organisations have active and effective internal and external
Are your members happy with the information flow in your organisation?
ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP ————————————————————————————————————
Has the goal of improving the society and stands for active participation of citizens in the
economic, social, cultural and political fields of life. In the youth field much emphasis is
Which methods of evaluation and self assessment does your organisation
use? Are they effective? Have they been improved in the course of use?
on learning the necessary competences through voluntary activities. The aim is not only
to improve knowledge, but also motivation, skills and practical experience to be an active
Do the communication tools you use answer the needs of your member
CIVIL SOCIETY ———————————————————————————————————————
Refers to the arena of unforced collective action around shared interests, purposes and
Are young people informed about youth issues in your country?
values. Its institutional forms are different from those of the state, family and market.
Often civil society is understood as a “third sector”, while the state is “the second sector”
Does your communication structure bring added value to youth work
development in your country?
and business “the first sector”. In practice, the boundaries between state, civil society,
family and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated. This makes the exact definition of civil society difficult: Civil society actors include non-governmental organisations,
Do you have a mid or long-term strategy to support member organisations?
citizen advocacy organisations, professional associations, faith-based organisations, and
trade unions. Sometimes less organised actions and activities like movements, community groups, protests and demonstrations may be seen as civil society actors.
CO-MANAGEMENT —————————————————————————————————————
Refers to a model of youth participation practised in the Council of Europe youth sector,
as well as in some European countries at different levels (locally and nationally). The main
characteristic of co-management is that representatives of governments and young people decide together on the priorities, budget, implementation of the work priorities and
on the allocation of the resources of the youth activities of the youth sector.
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
9. Sustainability, Communication and Strategic Planning
How important is evaluation and self assessment for your organisation?
EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP ——————————————————————————————————
EMPOWERMENT ——————————————————————————————————————
Refers to a comprehensive concept and practice of citizenship, with many cultural, social,
Is helping people to help themselves. A concept used in many contexts: management
political and economic dimensions. In a nutshell, European citizenship can be considered
(“The process of sharing information, training and allowing employees to manage their
jobs in order to obtain optimum results”), community development (“action oriented
management training aimed at community members and their leaders, poverty reduc-
notion based on shared values (human rights, democracy and the rule of law);
tion, gender strategy, facilitation, income generation, capacity development, community
l disassociated from belonging to a particular territory;
participation, social animation”), mobilisation (“Leading people to learn to lead them-
l a complementary rather than an exclusive identity;
selves”) virtual advocacy (education for internet- based advocacy) as well as helping wom-
l an active role of citizens in their different communities across social, cultural, eco-
en, sick people, minorities and youth to better manage their life.
nomic and political domains;
l a locally rooted practice and collective work in progress.
FORMAL LEARNING ————————————————————————————————————
cifically designed for teaching/training and learning, which is staffed by learning facilita-
Is an international organisation made up of 98 members made up of national youth
tors who are specifically qualified for the sector, level and subject concerned and which
councils and international non-governmental youth organisations, federations in them-
usually serves a specified category of learners (defined by age, level and specialism).
selves, bringing together tens of millions of young people from all European countries. It
Learning aims are almost always externally set, learning progress is usually monitored
endeavours to serve the interests of young people from all over Europe, promoting their
and assessed, and learning outcomes are usually recognised by certificates or diplomas.
active participation in the construction of a common Europe. Working with international
Much formal learning provision is compulsory (school education).
institutions, mainly the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.
It serves to channel the flow of information and opinions between young people and
INCLUSION ————————————————————————————————————————
decision-makers. The objectives of the European Youth Forum are:
Is a term used widely in social and educational policy-making to express the idea that
all people living in a given society (should) have access and participation rights on equal
l Increase the participation of young people and youth organisations in society, as well
as in decision-making processes;
terms. This means on the one hand that institutions, structures and measures should be
designed positively to accommodate diversity of circumstances, identities and ways of
l Positively influence policy issues affecting young people and youth organisations, by
life. On the other hand, it means that opportunities and resources should be distributed
being a recognised partner for international institutions, namely the European Union,
so as to minimise disadvantage and marginalisation. In the sphere of youth work and
the Council of Europe and the United Nations;
non-formal education, inclusion is considered as an all-embracing strategy and practice
l Promote the concept of youth policy as an integrated and cross-sectoral element of
overall policy development, namely through youth mainstreaming;
of ensuring that people with fewer opportunities have access to the structures and programmes offered.
l Facilitate the participation of young people through the development of sustainable
and independent youth organisations at the national and international level, particu-
INFORMAL LEARNING ———————————————————————————————————
larly in respect to ensuring dependable, adequate funding for them;
Is non-purposive learning which takes place in everyday life contexts in the family, at
l Promote the exchange of ideas and experience, mutual understanding, as well as the
equal rights and opportunities among young people in Europe;
l Uphold intercultural understanding, democracy, respect, diversity, human rights, active
work, during leisure and in the community. It does have outcomes, but these are seldom
recorded, virtually never certified and are typically neither immediately visible for the
learner nor others.
citizenship and solidarity;
ontribute to the development of youth work in other regions of the world.
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
Is purposive learning that takes place in a distinct and institutionalized environment speEUROPEAN YOUTH FORUM —————————————————————————————————
NON-FORMAL LEARNING/EDUCATION ———————————————————————————
PARTICIPATION ——————————————————————————————————————
Is purposive but voluntary learning that takes place in a diverse range of environments
Is not an aim in itself, but an approach to becoming active citizen. Participation is a means
and situations for which teaching/training and learning is not necessarily their main activ-
for taking an active role both in personal and community development. Participation
ity. These environments and situations may be intermittent or transitory, and the activities
brings power based on the possibility of exerting influence on the social and economic
or courses that take place may be staffed by professional learning facilitators (such as
aspects of life in the broad community.
youth trainers) or by volunteers (such as youth leaders). The activities and courses are
planned, but are seldom structured by conventional rhythms or curriculum subjects. They
(PUBLIC) ADVOCACY ————————————————————————————————————
usually address specific target groups, but rarely document or assess learning outcomes
Is a social process which aims at social change. It is usually initiated by a small group of
or achievements in conventionally visible ways.
individuals who share a common concern over a particular problem and are ready to dediof a number of activities which are undertaken with the goal of changing policies, prac-
Are structures established by the national authorities in each Youth in Action programme
tices and attitudes. The desired changes can target legislation, institutional strategies or
country in order to assist the European Commission with management and to assume
social groups and individuals.
responsibility for implementation of most of the Youth in Action programme.
STRUCTURED DIALOGUE ——————————————————————————————————
NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL ————————————————————————————————
Brings together institutional decision-makers, young people and their organisations, and
Is an umbrella organization for youth NGOs and sometimes also other actors in youth
experts in the youth field in order to jointly reflect on the priorities, implementation and
work. A national youth council functions primarily as a service organization to its mem-
follow-up of European cooperation in the youth field. It is a structured process of consul-
bers, but is also a lobby and advocacy body. A similar role in international level is played
tations with young people which aims at finding out the needs of young people and bring
by the European Youth Forum, where national youth councils play a strong role.
recommendations for improvement of the position of youth in particular areas of life. On
the European level, it brings together the European Commission, Member States, national
NON-FORMAL YOUTH INITIATIVE ——————————————————————————————
youth councils and the European Youth Forum. On the national level, a national working
Can be initiated by two or more young people who share a common goal to effect social
group (which consists of youth representatives and representatives of government insti-
change in a particular area through action, but it is not a legal entity.
tutions and experts) carries out consultations with young people. The content of national
consultations feeds into the European level. One structured dialogue cycle lasts for 18
OPEN METHOD OF COORDINATION ————————————————————————————
months and focuses on one broad topic. The topic of the first cycle (chaired by Spain-
In many policy areas, EU Member States set their own national policies rather than hav-
Belgium- Hungary EU Presidency Trio) was youth employment. The second cycle of the
ing an EU-wide policy laid down in law. The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) provides
structured dialogue was built around the theme of youth participation in democratic life
a framework for co-operation between the Member States, whose national policies can
and divided into three sub-themes, Youth and the World, Creativity and Innovation and
thus be directed towards certain common objectives. Under this method, the Member
Social Inclusion.
States are evaluated by one another, with the European Commission’s role limited to
coordination and surveillance. In the youth field, the OMC is used to establish common
SUSTAINABILITY ——————————————————————————————————————
objectives for the 4 priorities of the White Paper on Youth: “participation”, informa-
Is the ability of organisations to administer their own resources and remain independent
tion”, “voluntary activities” and “a greater understanding and knowledge of youth”. The
in conducting their own projects and activities.
European Commission coordinates and monitors the implementation of the objectives in
the Member States through the method. Consulting young people is part of the process.
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
cate their time, expertise and resources in order to reach the desired change. It consists
NATIONAL AGENCIES ———————————————————————————————————
VOLUNTEERING ——————————————————————————————————————
l Promote European cooperation in the youth field. It offers co-funding opportunities for
Means investing voluntarily one’s own personal time, efforts, knowledge and skills in per-
projects initiated by young people, youth organisations and other actors in the youth
forming activities and services for the benefit of other people or for the common good.
It is characterised by the following aspects: open to all, unpaid, undertaken of own free
will, educational (non-formal learning aspect), added social value. (See the Charter of the
YOUTH ORGANISATIONS ——————————————————————————————————
rights of the volunteers by the European Youth Forum)
Are generally understood to be youth-led, non-profit, voluntary, and participatory non-
YOUTH ADVISORY COUNCIL ————————————————————————————————
ing young people’s democratic and social rights, encouraging their social and political
Is a consultative youth body of local and regional authorities. It is founded with the aim of
participation in community life at all levels, and offering opportunities for personal and
including young people in public life. Candidates are proposed by youth associations and
social development through leisure activities, voluntary engagement and non-formal and
other forms of youth organising. Youth advisory council discusses and gives opinions to
informal learning. Youth organisations make significant contributions to young people’s
local and regional authorities youth-related issues. It can also be involved in creating and
quality of life, to their knowledge and competence acquisition and –through their par-
monitoring of local and regional youth strategies.
ticipation and engagement – to the community in general. Organisational forms range
from independent legal entities – including associations, foundations, congregations and
YOUNG PEOPLE ——————————————————————————————————————
unions – to organisations that are part of larger structures, such as youth strands of po-
Are people 13 – 30 years old (for the purposes of European youth policies this age is used
litical parties or sections of broader non-governmental organisations dedicated to youth.
both by the European Commission and Council of Europe). Definition on the age of young
They can be local, national and international.
people can differ between countries and organisations with the range from 6 years old up
YOUTH PARLIAMENTS ————————————————————————————————————
to 35 years old.
Are meetings of young people taking on the roles of Members of Parliament. Such model
parliaments are usually organised with the political ambition to increase young people’s
Are young people from a less-privileged cultural, socio-economic or geographical back-
political participation and the educational ambition to raise awareness and increase un-
ground, or with disabilities.
derstanding of political processes. Furthermore, the role of youth parliaments is often
described as encouragement of independent thinking and stimulation of socio-political
YOUTH IN ACTION —————————————————————————————————————
Is the programme the European Union has set up for young people in the period 2007 –
2013. It aims to inspire a sense of active European citizenship, solidarity and tolerance
YOUTH POLICY ———————————————————————————————————————
among young Europeans and to involve them in shaping the Union’s future. Its general
Is a set of principles, values, attitudes, goals and actions which aim at improving the qual-
objectives are the following:
ity of life of young people. Youth policy may be implemented by governments and public
institutions, but it is carried out in cooperation with youth organisations, civil society,
l Promote young people’s active citizenship in general and their European citizenship in
experts, media and the community as a whole.
l Develop solidarity and promote tolerance among young people, in particular in order to
foster social cohesion in the European Union;
oster mutual understanding between young people in different countries;
l Contribute to developing the quality of support systems for youth activities and the
capabilities of civil society organisations in the youth field;
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
governmental associations. Typically, youth organisations focus on promoting and assur-
YOUTH TRAINERS ——————————————————————————————————————
Are people who train others to work with young people, using non-formal methods, focusing on personal and social development and with an emphasis on fostering intercultural competence as education, employment, assistance and guidance, housing, mobility,
criminal justice and health, as well as the more traditional areas of participation, youth
politics, cultural activities, scouting, leisure and sports. Youth work often seeks to reach
out to particular groups of young people such as disadvantaged youth in socially deprived
neighbourhoods, or immigrant youth including refugees and asylum seekers.
YOUTH WORK ———————————————————————————————————————
Is a summary expression for activities with and for young people of a social, cultural,
Following are further reading divided after chapters and sub-chapters. Then sources used
educational or political nature. Increasingly, youth work activities also include sports and
for this publication are to be found.
most commonly referred to as either non-formal learning or education or informal learn-
Chapter 2
ing. The general aims of youth work are the integration and inclusion of young people in
society. It may also aim towards the personal and social emancipation of young people
2.2. Levels of youth work outside the country
from dependency and exploitation. Youth Work belongs both to the social welfare and
Council of Europe and Advisory Council on Youth
to the educational systems. In some countries it is regulated by law and administered
by state civil servants, in particular at local level. While it is recognised, promoted and
financed by public authorities in many European countries, it has only a marginal status
European Youth Foundation
in others. It includes work on aspects such as education, employment, assistance and
guidance, housing, mobility, criminal justice and health, as well as the more traditional areas of participation, youth politics, cultural activities, scouting, leisure and sports. Youth
EU and CoE partnership on Youth
work often seeks to reach out to particular groups of young people such as disadvan-
taged youth in socially deprived neighbourhoods, or immigrant youth including refugees
and asylum seekers. Youth work may at times be organised around a particular religious
European Union, Education, Training and Youth
European Commission's Youth website
European Youth Portal
Youth in Action
United Nations
11. Sources and further reading
10. Glossary of terms in youth policy and youth work
services for young people. Youth work belongs to the domain of ‘out-of-school’ education,
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
6.1 Structures
7.2 Funding sources
Managing without profit, p. 21-38.
Mapping of Donors Active in the International Youth Sector
Mike Hudson
Yael Ohana for Open Society Institute Youth Initiative
Directory of Social Change, 2002.
Publisher Open Society Institute Youth Initiative, 2009, 2010.
Online http://www.soros.org/sites/default/files/
Name Organisational Management T-kit
Author/Editor Silvio Martinelli and Jonathan Bowyer
Publisher Council of Europe Publishing, 2000.
Youth in Action
Organisation European Union
Online http://ec.europa.eu/youth/youth-in-action-programme/
Name Organizational behaviour
Author/Editor Andrzej A. Huczynski and David A. Buchanan
Fund European Youth Foundation
Publisher Person Education Ltd., 2007.
Organisation Council of Europe
Online http://www.eyf.coe.int/fej/
6.3 Executive bodies
Chapter 8
Name Managing without profit, p. 30-65.
Author/Editor Mike Hudson
Publisher Directory of Social Change, 2002.
Name Ladder of Youth Voice
Name Nonprofit Organisations, Theory, management, policy, p. 225-241
Author Adam Fletcher
Author/Editor Helmut K. Anheier
Online http://www.freechild.org/ladder.htm.
Publisher Routledge, 2005
Name Just about managing? Effective management
for voluntary organisations and community groups, p. 11-20.
Roger Hart's Ladder of Young People's Participation
Chapter 9
Author/Editor Sandy Adirondack
9.2 Communication
Publisher London Voluntary Service Council, 2006.
Name Organisational Management T-kit
Author/Editor Silvio Martinelli and Jonathan Bowyer
6.5 Staff
Publisher Council of Europe Publishing, 2000.
Organisational Management T-kit, p. 78-79.
Online http://youth-partnership-eu.coe.int/youth-partnership/
Author/Editor Silvio Martinelli and Jonathan Bowyer
Council of Europe Publishing, 2000.
Name Just about managing? Effective management
for voluntary organisations and community groups, p. 74-80.
Author/Editor Sandy Adirondack
Publisher London Voluntary Service Council, 2006.
11. Sources and further reading
11. Sources and further reading
9.3. Strategic Planning
Name Organisational Management T-kit
Author/Editor Silvio Martinelli and Jonathan Bowyer
Andirondack, S., Just about Managing? Effective management for voluntary organisations
Publisher Council of Europe Publishing, 2000.
and community groups, London Voluntary Service Council, London, 2006.
Online http://youth-partnership-eu.coe.int/youth-partnership/
Allison and Kaye, Strategic Planning for Nonprofit organisations, John Wiley & Sons Inc.,
Name Managing without profit, p. 93-204.
Mike Hudson
Anheier, Nonprofit organisations, Theory, management, policy, Routlegdge, London and
Directory of Social Change, 2002
New York, 2005.
Name Strategic Planning for Nonprofit organisations
Bryson, Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit organisations, Jossey Bass Wiley,
Authors/Editors Allison and Kaye
Publisher John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2005
Name Basic Overview of Various Strategic Planning Models
Author Carter McNamara
Online http://managementhelp.org/strategicplanning/models.htm#many
Directory of Social Change, London, 2002.
Kristmundsson, Ó.H., Stjónrskipulag félagasamtaka in Stjórnun og rekstur félagasamtaka –
Kristmundsson and Hrafnsdóttir (ed.), University Press, Reykajvik, 2008, p. 79-99.
Kristmundsson, Ó.H., Stjórnir félaga in Stjórnun og rekstur félagasamtaka Kristmundsson
and Hrafnsdottir (ed.), University Press, Reykjavík, 2008a, p. 100-120.
McNamara, C. Field Guide to Strategic Planning and Faciliation, Authenticity Consulting,
Martinelli, S., and Bowyer, J. (ed.), Organisational Managment T-Kit, Council of Europe
Publishing, Strasbourg, 2000.
National Youth Council of Slovenia, Youth work in theory and in practice, publication by
National youth council of Slovenia, March 2011.
11. Sources and further reading
11. Sources and further reading
Hudson, Managing without profit, the art of managing third-sector organisations,
Following is a list of acronyms used in this publication along with other useful acronyms.
AC————— Advisory Council on Youth (within CoE)
Allianssi —— Finnish National Youth Council
CGJL———— Luxembourgian Youth Council
CNAJEP ——— French National Youth Council
CNJ ———— Portuguese National Youth Council
CNTM ——— Moldavian National Youth Council
CoE ———— Council of Europe
DBJR———— German Federal Youth Council
DNK ———— German Federal Committee for International youth work
DNYC———— Dutch National Youth Council
DUF ———— Danish Youth Council
ECOSOC—— Economic and Social Council (within UN)
ENL ———— Estonian Youth Council
EU————— European Union
EYF————— European Youth Foundation
FNG ———— National Youth Council of Italy
GA————— General Assembly
IGO ———— Intergovernmental organisation
IYNGO——— International Youth Non-Governmental Organisation
KOMS———— Serbian National Youth Council
LAEF———— Icelandic Youth Council
LiJOT———— Lithuanian Youth Council
LJP————— Latvian National Youth Council
LNU ———— The Norwegian Children and Youth Council
LSU————— National Councils of Swedish Youth Organisations
Annex 1 – List of acronyms
CJE ———— Spanish National Youth Council
MSS ———— Slovenian National Youth Council
NA————— National Agency
NAYORA —— National Assembly of Youth Organisations of the Republic of Azerbaijan
NCYOG——— Georgian National Youth Council
NFE ———— Non-formal education
NGO———— Non-Governmental Organisation
NMF———— National Youth Forum of Bulgaria
NYC ———— National Youth Council
NYCR———— National Youth Council of Russia
OMC———— Open method of coordination
RMS ———— Slovakian Youth Council
Federal and Linear Structures 6
UN————— United Nations
UNICEF——— United Nations Children's Fund
Linear structure Federal structure
UYF————— Ukrainian Youth Forum
YFJ————— European Youth Forum
Annex 2 – Structures
Annex 1 – List of acronyms
YiA————— Youth in Action
Regional offices
6. H
udson, 2002, p. 25
Different use of federal and linear structures 7
Network structure
Tall hierarchies
Annex 2 – Structures
Annex 2 – Structures
Flat hierarchies
Project management
7. M
artinelli, S., and Bowyer, J., 2000, p. 63