Youth Participation, Community engagement

AHA plus: Recognition scheme for youth voluntary activities

What is aha plus?

aha plus is a recognition system for young people who engage as volunteers in their municipality or in an initiative. The scheme is developed and implemented by aha – Jugendinformationszentrum Vorarlberg, the European Youth Card organisation in Vorarlberg, Austria.

In order to be able to collect points, young people need an aha card and the organisation for which they want to work must be registered at aha plus and publish its activities online. The young person can exchange the collected points for rewards such as a job shadowing in a well-known company, a meet-and-greet with a famous person or concert tickets.

Apart from the opportunities which aha plus offers to young people who are already active in an association, the tool also helps young people who would like to do voluntary work to find appropriate tasks. Plus, it offers organisations the opportunity to promote their activities among young people.

aha plus is custom-built for young people and is meant to offer them not only recognition for their engagement but also opportunities in the fields of employability, social competence, community experience and integration – fields where you can actually learn only by doing and that have an impact on life as a whole.

Voluntary activities - Quests

There are two types of offline quests:

  • Continual quests are activities that associations assign to young people for the length of more or less a “season”. These are quests such as helping as a trainer or a leader of a children group, working with a children or youth group, as a board member, regular visiting services, bar services, etc. The young people are registered once for the quest and they are regularly awarded points for their activities during the whole season.
  • Unique quests are one-time activities such as helping at a clean-up day, helping at the cashier desk at an event, leading a workshop, etc. These quests can be repeated but they do not take place regularly. That’s why points can be claimed only once but if the quest takes place again, it can be easily activated with a new date in the tool.

Apart from these two basic types of quests, it is also possible to plan a complete event with aha plus.

In order to allow easy access to the tool and to reach young people who haven’t had experience with voluntary work yet, aha plus offers online activities as well - for example, a short online survey on voluntary engagement. The tool can also be used to share knowledge, to raise awareness or to involve young people in political decisions.

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Special opportunities, meaningful products - Rewards

The points collected for the voluntary activities can be exchanged for rewards. Some rewards can be claimned instantly once the volunteer has collected the required number of points. These can be food vouchers and other small prizes.

Bigger rewards such as concert tickets, a barista starter course or a meet-and-greet with a celebrity require volunteers to respond to a survey and participate in a raffle draw

Experience - Xperience

Young people do not only collect points for their voluntary activities but experience as well. The experience areas of each quest are determined by the associations when they enter the quest in the tool. It can be one or several areas. The areas have been worked out in cooperation with a human resources office, which considers them relevant for professional life.

The experience areas are:

  • Arts and creativity
  • Catering
  • Craft and technology
  • Education
  • Environmental protection
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Organisation
  • Security
  • Social welfare
  • Responsibility
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Launch event

On 6th November 2017, aha plus was launched by the head of the state government of Vorarlberg. Young people as well as representatives of associations, organisations and municipalities presented aha plus to the public.

From autumn 2017 to summer 2018 aha plus was presented in 17 workshops to representatives of associations, organisations and municipalities. In parallel, young people were introduced to the tool. 628 people participated in the events. By April 2018, 1,797 young people had registered in the tool and had collected 732,100 points.

To find out more about aha plus and the programme that inspired it - Young Scot Rewards - read the project manual.