The Power of Gratitude: Celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week
Volunteering is a powerful force that brings individuals and communities together to make a positive impact on the world. From serving food at local food banks to planting trees in public parks, volunteers play a crucial role to tackle society’s greatest challenges. But how do you say thank you for volunteering to the people that are keeping your organization afloat?
April is National Volunteer Month (with volunteer appreciation week 2023 happening from April 16-22) and to recognize the contributions and dedication of these unsung heroes, communities across the globe celebrate them! This annual event provides an opportunity to recognize volunteers for their selfless service, inspiring others to join in and create positive change.
What is National Volunteer Week?
National Volunteer Week is an annual event celebrated in countries around the world, typically during the month of April. With 41.9% of Americans and 38% of Canadians identifying as volunteers, this week is dedicated to recognizing them and expressing gratitude for their selfless service.
During National Volunteer Week, organizations and communities organize various events and activities to honor volunteers and show appreciation for their hard work, time, and dedication.
National Volunteer Week is an important opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of volunteers, boost volunteer engagement, and inspire others to get involved and make a difference in their communities.
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Why Should Organizations Celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week?
Volunteers dedicate their time, energy, and resources to help organizations achieve their goals and fulfill their missions. In fact, volunteerism has a value of over $184 billion through staff time saved and resources acquired. By celebrating National Volunteer Week, your nonprofit can show your volunteers that their efforts are valued and appreciated, which can boost morale and inspire volunteers to continue their service.
Celebrating this week can also help organizations attract new volunteers. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to recruit new volunteers to your organization, and that starts with keeping your current volunteers happy and engaged!
How Should National Volunteer Appreciation Week Be Celebrated?
How you decided to celebrate National Volunteer Week is going to depend on factors such as the resources you have available to you, the interests of your volunteers, and the support of your team.
Some popular ideas for celebrating National Volunteer Week include organizing volunteer recognition events, such as award ceremonies or appreciation dinners, sharing volunteer success stories on social media or through newsletters, sending personalized thank-you notes or gifts to volunteers, and offering training or professional development opportunities to help volunteers grow in their roles.
Additionally, organizations may want to use this week to encourage more people to get involved in volunteer work by sharing information about upcoming opportunities or highlighting the impact that volunteers have on their mission.
Ultimately, the best way to celebrate National Volunteer Week is to show genuine gratitude and appreciation for the valuable contributions of your volunteers.
How to Celebrate National Volunteer Week With Limited Resources
Even with limited resources, there are many ways to celebrate National Volunteer Week and show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of volunteers. A few ideas to celebrate your volunteers even if you have limited resources are:
- Sharing volunteer service success stories on your social media channels
- Purchasing an ad in your local newspaper
- Host a volunteer service appreciation breakfast and ask your staff to help cook
- Send personalized thank you cards or emails to each volunteer
- Create a volunteer spotlight section of your website and feature a new volunteer each day of the week
- Send them merch or swag that you have from previous events
- Record short personalized videos from your team with a special volunteer appreciation week message
Even with limited resources, there are many creative and meaningful ways to celebrate National Volunteer Week and show appreciation for the dedication and hard work of volunteers.
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How to Celebrate National Volunteer Week In Person
Celebrating National Volunteer Week in person can be a fantastic way to show appreciation for volunteers while also bringing your community together. There are many ways to celebrate this week, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Organize some volunteer special events such as a service recognition ceremony where you welcome all volunteers, offer light refreshments, and hand out awards.
- Arrange a volunteer appreciation dinner by renting out a private event space or restaurant and invite all of your volunteers and staff.
- Host a volunteer fair or community service project. Your volunteers clearly love giving their time to important causes and this provides an opportunity for them to do even more good.
- Offer in-person training or professional development opportunities for your volunteers. This could be a meeting with your CEO, hiring a career consultant, or offering a class to teach them a new skill.
- Purchase volunteer appreciation gifts and spend a day dropping them off at your volunteer’s house.
Remember, these are just a few ideas to celebrate National Volunteer Week in person. The most important thing is to show genuine gratitude and appreciation for the hard work and dedication of your volunteers.
How to Celebrate National Volunteer Week Virtually
In addition to celebrating your volunteers in person, there are many great ways to celebrate them virtually including:
- Hosting a virtual volunteer recognition event where volunteers can be thanked for their contributions
- Creating a video montage or social campaign to celebrate them
- Offer virtual training and professional development opportunities
- Sent digital certificates of appreciation, e-cards, or personalized thank-you letters
- Host a virtual volunteer fair where volunteers can learn more about other volunteering opportunities within your community
- Host a virtual happy hour where your volunteers can come and connect with each other
Celebrating volunteers virtually is an excellent way to show appreciation, and it also provides an opportunity for organizations to connect with volunteers from all over the world, as well as engage with remote volunteers who may not be interested in in-person events.
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National Volunteer Week Gift Ideas
Giving gifts to your volunteers is an excellent way to recognize their hard work and dedication. By giving gifts, you can express your gratitude and motivate volunteers to continue their service. Volunteer thank-you gifts don’t have to be expensive, but they should be thoughtful and meaningful to the recipients. A few ideas for volunteer gifts are:
- Gift certificates to local businesses within your community
- Special recognition pins or badges
- Volunteer appreciation plaques
- Flowers with a personalized, hand-written note
- Personalized tote bags
- Gift baskets filled with treats
- Branded merchandise such as water bottles, keychains, coffee mugs, or smartphone accessories
Before purchasing gifts for your volunteers, put some thought into what you think would be the most meaningful to them. Also take a look at the options you already have available to you from past events, merch purchases, etc.
What is the Theme of 2023’s National Volunteer Week?
In Canada, the theme for 2023 National Volunteer Week is Volunteering Weaves Us Together. During the week of April 16 – 20, nonprofits around the country are called on to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of volunteering to the strength and vibrancy of our communities through the interconnected actions we take to support one another.
National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate the selfless dedication and hard work of volunteers. This year, as we celebrate National Volunteer Week 2023, let us take the time to express our gratitude for the volunteers who make a difference in our communities and the world.
About the author:
Head of Marketing, Keela
Meredith has always had a passion for work that makes an impact. Having spent over 7 years working in fundraising, she has gained extensive knowledge in marketing, peer-to-peer, events, and sponsorship and firmly believes that all successful fundraising strategies start with your data.
Having experienced it first-hand, she understands the challenges nonprofits face when building a fundraising strategy and loves connecting with other like-minded fundraisers to brainstorm new and creative ways to leverage data to increase revenue. When not working, Meredith can be found trying out one of Toronto’s diverse restaurants, breaking a sweat in a spin class, or researching her next travel destination.