Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Celebrating National Volunteer Week

From April 10-16, 2011, nonprofits and other organizations across the nation will be celebrating National Volunteer Week (NVW), a time dedicated to “inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.”

Everyone likes to be recognized for their good work, and volunteers are no different. In a time when Congress is considering completely cutting the Corporation for National and Community Service, it is more important than ever to recognize the great work volunteers do in the community, and to show how much we would lose by cutting volunteer services. (For ways to tell Congress why they shouldn’t cut service, please visit

Instead of just thanking the volunteers themselves, tell the entire community how important volunteers are. This blog has four tips for sharing the importance of volunteers with the greater community, including writing letters to the editor and contacting your state and national representation.

There are many ways to commemorate National Volunteer week, which will be filled with ceremonies honoring dedicated volunteers and events designed to get communities involved in volunteering. HandsOn Network has produced a great resource guide to help nonprofits plan and promote their events, and is also recognizing volunteers of their own. You can learn more about nominations for HandsOn volunteer recognition here.

National Volunteer Week generally focuses on recognizing people who already volunteer, but is also a great opportunity to get more people involved in volunteer efforts. Many people don’t volunteer because they don’t know how to get involved, and National Volunteer Week is a great time to get the word out about volunteering opportunities.

Many groups are holding large, one-time events during National Volunteer Week that will engage the whole community and put their efforts and volunteers in the spotlight. In ICP’s neighborhood, on April 15-16, Greater DC Cares is holding its annual Servathon. Over 8,000 volunteers will participate in nearly 100 service projects across the Greater DC area, doing everything from painting schools to painting nails.

Want to participate in a National Volunteer Week event? has 5,000 different NVW activities listed, including both short-term and long-term volunteering opportunities. With so many options, everyone can get involved!

Is your organization doing something for National Volunteer Week? Are you participating in an event? Let us know in the comments!

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