National Volunteer Week: How Associations Are Celebrating

The event, turning 45 this year, has some associations in a thanking mood and others launching new ideas for their members. Read on to see how different groups are taking part this week.

National Volunteer Week has a decades-long history, which includes some direct presidential influence—after all, it was launched in 1974 with an executive order signed by President Richard Nixon.

But another president looms just a little bit larger. Remember President George H.W. Bush’s popular catchphrase related to volunteerism, “a thousand points of light”? That phrase, uttered during his inaugural address 30 years ago, came to inspire the name of Points of Light, the charity Bush started that helps draw attention to volunteering around the country, particularly during National Volunteer Week, taking place April 7–13 this year.

It’s no wonder so many associations are taking time this week to highlight their volunteers, along with their latest initiatives. Among them:

American Lung Association. The group, launched 115 years ago, was built on the back of volunteers, the group notes, and ALA took time this week to highlight four of them, including Nancy Vandespool, a lung cancer survivor who took part in the association’s Lock Up Lung Cancer campaign last fall. “I share my voice because we all need a hug and a smile,” Vandespool, a native of Puerto Rico, told the association. “We all need to know that there’s always a light at the end of the road.”

American Health Information Management Association. This group would like you to know that industry resources wouldn’t be quite as amazing as they are without the work of more than 2,000 volunteers. Last year, AHIMA’s volunteers put in more than 2,200 hours of work in the form of writing, toolkits, webinar presentations, and other offerings. “Volunteers tell us they value the experience because they get to share their expertise, learn from their peers, and increase their sense of belonging within the profession,” the association says.

Canadian Society of Association Executives. CSAE chose to say thanks with a short video highlighting the many volunteer groups represented within the organization. “Volunteers are crucial in improving the association world in Canada,” the association said in a YouTube description. “Thanks to all the tireless CSAE volunteers!”

National Association for Campus Activities. In this case, the group took an infographic approach, which you can see above. “Our committed volunteers collectively spend thousands of hours making NACA experiences exceptional,” the association says.

Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals. This group, which represents volunteer managers at healthcare facilities, is pulling double duty—as it’s also National Health Care Volunteer Week. In that spirit, AHVRP has put together an app to highlight and share best practices and events at hospitals. The app costs $1.99 for members and $4.99 for nonmembers, and it will help support scholarships to AHVRP conferences.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate National Volunteer Week? Share it in the comments.

(AlexeyGorka/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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