National Volunteer Week is April 7-14 and is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, to build stronger communities, and be a force that transforms the world. National Volunteer Week is celebrated by Points of Light and was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.
Today, as people strive to lead lives that reflect their values, the expression of civic life has evolved. Whether online, at the office, or the local food bank; whether with a vote, a voice, or a wallet – doing good comes in many forms, and we recognize and celebrate them all.
Below are a few simple ways that your agency can honor volunteers not just during this national celebration, but every week of the year.
- Personal Thank You Cards: Send your volunteers a simple handwritten cards of thanks. We often think to do this for our donors, and volunteers are donors as well, giving their time and energy to help us advance our mission.
- Say Happy Birthday!: Most databases allow you to capture volunteer supporters birthdays and set up an automated email that can be sent out with a personalized messages. Seems simple, but it is effective.
- Host An Appreciation Lunch: This is a simple way to say thank you and give a little something back to our volunteers. Ask a local business for a donation of food, flowers, chocolates to help underwrite the expense and have a little party for your volunteers. Many people volunteer to not only give back, but to meet others who share their commitment to give back – here is a perfect way for them to meet and feel the volunteer love at the same time.
- Ask Them for their Opinion: Many times our volunteers are working directly to advance our mission. If your agency is undergoing a strategic planning process, ask volunteers for their input, or set up periodic opportunities for volunteers to offer feedback. They are part of the organization and this allows them to feel the connection even deeper.
- Post on social media: If your agency is active on social media, give a quick shout out to your volunteers with a picture and an appreciation for their support. Here is a great example of a weekly post by CVNL Member Extrafood.org:
“Congratulations to our Volunteer of the Week, Denis O.! We’re so glad Denis noticed the little ExtraFood table at the big CVNL Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership volunteer fair last fall. Thanks to that chance encounter we got ourselves a super volunteer. In just 5 months, Denis has completed over 65 food trips recovering over a ton of food. Just last week alone he covered 7 food trips. Whew! We’re so grateful that good fortune sent Denis our way!”
And don’t forget that you can honor volunteers weekly through the Marin IJ Volunteer of the Week. Submit your volunteer profile here. For more ideas on how to honor volunteers, visit www.bayareavolunteers.org.