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National Volunteer Week, a signature event of Points of Light Institute, started on Saturday! National Volunteer Week (April 18-24) is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.
This week celebrates ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service. Whether you are an individual, family, nonprofit organization, government or corporation, this is your chance to take action and encourage individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change. Take this chance to thank your amazing volunteers or get out for the first time and become a volunteer! One way or another, seize the moment next week to get out and celebrate service!
If you haven't yet thought about how to celebrate service and thank your volunteers next week, here are some ideas to get you started. If you have a full week planned, please be sure to share your ideas and help inspire others!
- Recognize and thank your volunteers. Have some truly outstanding volunteers? Award them with the President's Volunteer Service Award - it's the highest honor and the most prestigious volunteer award directly associated with the White House.
- Another award to think about is the Daily Point of Light Award - a competitive daily award honoring one exceptional volunteer or volunteer effort from across the nation. Nominate your best volunteers!
- Host your own Awards event. Not nominating your volunteers for either of the above two awards or miss this year's deadline? Take inspiration from the Olympics and host your own awards event customizing prizes or even fun trophies for your volunteers.
- Send hand-written thank you notes. Tried and true, this is always a nice way to send thanks.
- Want to say "thank you" to your volunteers with a gift? Progressive Gifts & Incentives has a nice collection of gifts for volunteers that are sure to show your appreciation.
- Give your volunteers some glow! If your organization has a web site or daily newsletter, think about featuring a volunteer a day during National Volunteer Week - this is a great way to show you care!
- Tweet your thanks. Tell the whole world how much you love your volunteers and tweet your thanks each day this week.
- Have a party! Host an event for a group of your volunteers. Plan a luncheon or even a happy hour, serve some free food, and take the time out to honor your volunteers.
- Have a raffle. Think of some things your company could offer, like time with your CEO, and select some lucky volunteers to win!
- Last but not least, don't forget to advance the Get HandsOn! campaign goal of mobilizing 500,000 volunteer leaders by activating volunteers in service for Global Youth Service Day and the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
This year, the Points of Light Institute also commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and the creation of the Volunteer Generation Fund through a series of celebratory and service events across the nation. Check out a full schedule for National Volunteer Week here.