3 Simple Ideas to Celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month in 2022
Volunteerism allows people to give back to their communities and assist people in need. These people are real-life heroes who have decided to spend their free time helping your organization. Volunteer management and volunteer appreciation month provides an opportunity to show real appreciation for your volunteers’ service and time.
In this article, we will give you 3 simple ideas on how to celebrate volunteer appreciation month in 2022:
- What is Volunteer Appreciation Month?
- #1 Show Appreciation For Your Volunteers’ Commitment
- #2 Organize an Event to Celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month
- #3 Use Social Media to Give Visibility to Your #VolunteerAppreciationMonth
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What is Volunteer Appreciation Month?
Volunteers are the backbone of our communities. In fact, per Independent Sector there are 63 million American volunteers who give up 8 million hours annually for volunteer activities. Volunteer appreciation month is a month-long celebration in April which aims to celebrate and thank volunteers for the time and hard work that they have put in intending to help their local communities.
The Origins of Volunteer Appreciation Month
Before we had volunteer appreciation month, we had volunteer appreciation week.
In 1943, National Volunteer Week was introduced in Canada as a way to recognize the contributions of women during World War II. In the United States, National Volunteer Week started in 1974 when former President Richard Nixon took a page out of Canada’s book and officially declared "National Volunteer Week" in a proclamation and encouraged all Americans to celebrate this week by seeking volunteer opportunities.
Claire is ready to celebrate her volunteers all month long!
When is Volunteer Appreciation Month?
In 1991, President George H. W. Bush expanded national volunteer week to extend throughout the month of April. While we all know volunteers should be celebrated every day, having a dedicated month can help organize special events to drive the point home.
#1 Show Appreciation For Your Volunteers’ Commitment
As a nonprofit, volunteers are an essential part of your organization. Without people who donate their time, money, and energy, your nonprofit could not continue to grow. Looking to go beyond spotlighting important volunteers in the volunteer newsletter? Here are a few ideas to get connected with your volunteers on a deeper level and say, “thank you, volunteers!”:
Share a Video Message
A personalized video message for volunteers is one of the ways that you can appreciate them. Relaying how you feel, reiterating the importance of the work that they do, and providing them concrete statistics on how volunteer help is impactful will help relay the importance of the work and their specific impact. For example, can you tell them about the number of families they supported, how many children’s lives were saved, the number of mouths fed, or the number of animals that received vaccinations?
Call Each Volunteer Directly
This might be time-consuming depending on how many volunteers you have. However, if it is a reasonable effort, ask the leaders and staff of your organization to call each volunteer to help drive the point home. During the call, recognize the number of hours they donated and what that time was able to accomplish.
For example, did one of your Habitat for Humanity volunteers utilize their talent over 150 hours last year to work on 30 different homes that ultimately helped to house 120 people in the community? If so, that is amazing, and showing them that you recognize their efforts will encourage them, especially new volunteers, to continue to make a difference in the years that follow.
Write Them Hand-Written Personalized Thank You Notes
You might think that thank you notes are a thing of the past. However, there is something about receiving a handwritten and personalized note that brings warmth. The excitement associated with receiving something in the mail that is not a payment request doesn’t hurt either! Taking your time with each note will enable your volunteers to feel special.
Send E-mail Shout-Outs
If you need a quick solution, email may be the best way to go. When an important volunteer has gone above and beyond what is expected, sending email shoutouts to recognize them will make them feel valued and appreciated.
If you have been wondering why to track volunteer hours, highlighting the number of hours volunteers have spent making a difference allows you to personalize these emails.
#2 Organize an Event to Celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month
Gathering your volunteers together will enable them to mingle and feel like the community that they are. Their individual stories will inspire other attendees to broaden their perspectives and increase their interest to volunteer more.
Offering volunteers a meal, drinks, camaraderie, and a fun-filled evening is a way for volunteers to decompress from their daily lives. A day or night of relaxation can make a person feel appreciated and can act as a way to retain volunteers. If you are not sure what kind of event is appropriate, be sure to ask your volunteers what they would like to do! Giving them a choice between a few options can be a great way to make sure everyone has a good time.
Pro Tip: Keeping your volunteers safe and healthy should be the topmost priority. Having a large in-person gathering is not always necessary. A virtual event or a small gathering where your volunteers can practice social distancing mingle with each other, share their experience, and feel appreciated is just as effective.
#3 Use Social Media to Give Visibility to Your #VolunteerAppreciationMonth
Social media has been instrumental in increasing the visibility of volunteerism. You can utilize Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by posting photos of volunteer work using the hashtag #VolunteerAppreciationMonth. Using social media will also help you recruit more volunteers because it will enable users to get to know your organization.
Marine is looking for the best ways to boost visibility this month!
Corporate volunteers will appreciate the link on social media platforms as it will help them with furthering their social responsibility goals and branding efforts of their businesses. Individual volunteers who are active on social media will likely also appreciate a shout-out for their friends and families to see how they have been spending their time.
Pro Tip: Volunteer appreciation month is a time when many new people are looking to get involved in their communities and in causes near and dear to their hearts. Prepare your team with flyers and all the communication elements they might need to respond to requests for information on how people can make a difference and how your organization can help them reach their goals!
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