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Celebrate National Volunteer Week

It’s National Volunteer Week! Non-profits and volunteers alike are sharing in an annual celebration of volunteerism and civic engagement that began more than two decades ago! It’s a time to not only recognize the tireless efforts of individuals who give of themselves to help others, but it’s also a time to reflect on the impact of service in our communities and discover new ways to do good.

Non-profits, this is your time to recognize your outstanding volunteers. Volunteers (or potential volunteers), this is your time to “kick it up a notch” and really deliver some powerful service in your community! If you’re like most people, your refrain might be, “But, Stephen… I just don’t have the time for service…” And to you I’d say, “Oh yes you do!” If you’re a non-profit, you might say, “But Stephen… we just don’t have the funds to show appreciation for our volunteers…” And to you I’d say, “That’s a bunch of hullabaloo!” National Volunteer is one big party, and everyone is invited! Here are some ways that you can take part in the celebration.

AARP employees serve food at Miriam's Kitchen in Washington, D.C.

AARP employees serve food at Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington, D.C.

Non-profit Organizations

Recognition is imperative when creating an effective volunteer program. All non-profits would love to have a core group of individuals that they could always count on, but the reality is sometimes it just doesn’t happen. In my experience, I feel that providing a value to volunteers should be top priority. If volunteers don’t feel needed or wanted, then they’ll jump ship. Use this time to think of strategies that will help you retain and recognize your volunteers. Here are a few tips:

 

Volunteers

Believe it or not, you’re heroes in the non-profit world! If you volunteer on a regular basis, then keep it up. If you truly don’t have the time to physically go to a non-profit to volunteer, that’s okay. Your expertise can still be used if you’ve got an internet connection, computer, or mobile phone. Want to help others? There’s an app for that!

National Volunteer Week ends on April 16th, so you’ve still got some time to celebrate! And here’s a challenge to non-profit organizations… don’t let one week set the tone for recognizing your volunteers. Try making it a consistent practice, and I guarantee you’ll be pleased with the results.

What are some other ways that you can celebrate National Volunteer Week?

This is a guest post by Stephen Anfield. Stephen is currently working as the Benefits Outreach Project Coordinator at the AARP Foundation. He organizes the Benefits Access QuickLink volunteers and National Call Center.