Large Organizations, Big Moves

Kamile Canbay
Turkish Red Crescent Governance Office President

The Turkish Red Crescent is both a member of an international movement and is an organization that has the largest network of volunteers in Türkiye, an organization with a special place in society, and one which enriches itself with societal dynamics. It is only natural that the expectations from large organizations are big in terms of numbers and the scope they reach. A good strategy and governance model is required to fulfill these expectations. In 2021, the Turkish Red Crescent has implemented important structural changes in order to ensure social empowerment over the next 10 years. 

The 2021-2030 Strategic Plan was completed and defined with two main cornerstones: ‘Social Resilience and Strong Governance.’ Many events have occurred in line with these cornerstones. The Turkish Red Crescent announced 2021 as the ‘Year of Volunteering’ and established a communication and competency system to be able to conduct efficient volunteering activities. With this, volunteers in Türkiye are now allocated within a system to be utilized during disasters, emergencies and other projects. As of February 2022, the number of active volunteers working for the Turkish Red Crescent is 96,001 and the number of registered volunteers on is 183,807. 

In addition to its professional workers and volunteers, the Turkish Red Crescent has also embodied volunteering structures within its own institutional establishment. It can be stated that the Turkish Red Crescent fully established its volunteering structures as of 2021. Within this, the number of branches that have volunteer management and representatives were 556 in 2021. In nearly almost all Turkish Red Crescent branches, ‘Kızılay Kadın’ (Women), ‘Kızılay Genç’ (Youth) and ‘Engelsiz Kızılay’ (People with Disabilities) volunteering structures are present. These structures allow for volunteers to specialize in specific areas and allow for their services to be sustainable within the TRC overall structure. Volunteers are a part of a wide network across the country and there is no doubt that only large organizations are able to establish networks and enlarge them with voluntary structures that include these networks. Within ‘Kızılay Kadın’, ‘Kızılay Genç’ and ‘Engelsiz Kızılay’, there are a total of 183,807 women, young people and disabled people who volunteer for the Turkish Red Crescent. 

It is important to be able to speak a common language within volunteer structures. This common language should be to the extent that the total movement of the relevant structure should be able to work for the same purposes. A strategic plan alone is not enough to be able to do this. All structures should, with their own members, decide on their own specialties by forming a common language that is going to be understood and be accepted by all. With this understanding, the Turkish Red Crescent switched its branches and representatives to target-based management. TRC branches across the country are all special in different ways and by adopting the same strategic approach are all sailing to the same horizon. In this context, each branch and representative office have identified ‘sustainability, accessibility, social empowerment, successful operations management, process management, capacity and efficiency’ as categories of competency taking into account realities in their local areas. Branch representatives often got together with each other and TRC management and shared best practices, ensuring an environment where they can learn from each other and expand on their services.

Having updated its coordination and communication systems, the Turkish Red Crescent conducted 160 meetings, trainings and other activities with its branches on digital platforms. The size of these varied from 80 to 1,000 participants. TRC President Kerem Kınık also visited all branches across the country on multiple occasions. In addition to this, the ‘2021 Branch Performances Award Program’ brought all branches together to adopt the institutional strategy and vision. More, bringing the branches and headquarters together on, this space allows for branches to share their news, projects, announcements, good practices and any other ideas they have, allowing for a holistic communications approach.

The monthly, digital and printed, Kızılay Posta has strengthened communications between our professional personnel, volunteers and beneficiaries. Being prepared with utmost sensitivity, the Kızılay Posta’s monthly issue takes into concern events that have occurred during that month, articles from branch representatives and issues briefings on continuing works. Kızılay Posta is delivered to all branches and is available for TRC members both digitally and in publication.

By integrating all TRC branch capacities on SAP (Enterprise Resource Planning/ ERP) Platform, with the aim of transparency and information driven management principles, allowing for the management of such a wide network online, the Turkish Red Crescent has accomplished a milestone. In order to ensure that all members can use the platform effectively and efficiently, with the coordination of the Turkish Red Crescent Academy, a total of 19.350 hours of education has been given to 258 people. This number keeps increasing day-by-day.

As a result of all the efforts discussed above, in comparison to 2020, with its 566 branches, representatives and volunteering structures, the Turkish Red Crescent accelerated its services and with its Şenlendirme Projects and as a result of the trust displayed by the public, the amount of funds raised has increased. With this, the belief in accomplishing bigger objectives has deepened. 

With all its branches, representatives, workers, and volunteers, the Turkish Red Crescent announced 2022 as the ‘Year of Solidarity.’ The focus here will be on public resilience and solidarity.

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