Leadership

Hug a Volunteer: It’s National Volunteer Week

By / Apr 8, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Sunday marked the beginning of National Volunteer Week, a 40-year tradition of honoring the work and service of U.S. volunteers. Here’s how several associations are both saluting their volunteers and fostering the volunteer spirit this week.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of National Volunteer Week in the United States.

Across our country, volunteers open doors of opportunity, pave avenues of success, fortify their communities, and lay the foundation for tomorrow’s growth and prosperity.

Established by President Nixon in 1974, the week is about “taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change—discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference,” according to the nonprofit Points of Light, which has sponsored the week since its inception.

Volunteers help move the country forward, President Obama wrote in a presidential proclamation announcing this year’s official week.

“Across our country, volunteers open doors of opportunity, pave avenues of success, fortify their communities, and lay the foundation for tomorrow’s growth and prosperity,” Obama wrote. “They are often equipped with few resources and gain little recognition, yet because of their service, our country is a better and a stronger force for good.”

Volunteers help drive associations forward by supporting their day-to-day operations and helping them accomplish their missions. Here’s how a few associations are celebrating and supporting volunteerism this week:

Several associations and nonprofits in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, participated in a “Volunteer Speed Dating” event to help kick off the week, The Sentinel reported. Hosted by the Carlisle Young Professionals group, the event on April 6 brought in representatives from the American Heart Association, Audubon Society, and several other nonprofits, as well as a group of prospective volunteers who spent five minutes learning about and asking questions of each organization.

Participants were then matched by members of Carlisle Young Professionals based on volunteer preferences and ratings.

Members of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association are celebrating their volunteers and looking to recruit new ones with a series of fire station open houses across the state on April 13. “We truly have a crisis on our hands, and if we don’t act to recruit these younger individuals, it won’t be just the fire companies that suffer the consequences, but all Delawareans,” Rich Toulson, DVFA president, told the Cape Gazette. “If you want to serve your community, we are the place to be.”

Toulson added that the open houses give community members a chance to see firsthand how volunteer firefighters serve their communities.

The American Marketing Association is marking the week with a slideshow highlighting some of its volunteer leaders in action.

“We recognize that volunteer involvement requires that you share not only your knowledge and talent, but also your time,” AMA said in a statement. “With your dedication, your professional expertise, and your insights, you help the AMA to best serve the marketing industry.”

How are you recognizing your volunteers and celebrating National Volunteer Week this year? Let us know in the comments.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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