The volunteer activity of citizens is crucial for the development of a democratic society. This paper contains a comparative overview of measures and tools implemented for the development of the volunteer movement in Poland and Russia, as these countries have a common history and similar background. Even though the societies of Poland and Russia are largely positive about helping the needy, the culture of volunteer work is still to be developed as volunteer work is neither highly valued nor considered prestigious.
The key factors which affect the levels and prospects of voluntary work are: legal environment, information flow between organisations and volunteers, motivation of people, promotion of volunteer activity and new forms of volunteering.
The problem of the low level of volunteer activism in Russia should be tackled simultaneously from the top and the bottom. The legal definition and recognition of volunteer work is needed, as well as clear goal setting and allocating of finances. At the same time, local initiatives should be promoted and encouraged through education and information.