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Since its start in 1974, National Volunteer Week has been a time to recognize the work that volunteers do to make their communities better places to live. Whether it’s cleaning up a local park, working with students to improve their grades, or helping neighborhoods to prepare for disasters, volunteers are an important part of their communities.
National Volunteer Week is a time for thanking the volunteers that support nonprofits by devoting their time to them, and the volunteers that see a need in their community and mobilize themselves and others to address the need.
Thanks comes in many ways – celebratory meals, recognition events, thank you cards, the list goes on and on. It’s important to directly thank volunteers for the work that they do, this week and throughout the year.
What if we were to not only thank our volunteers directly, but take the time to share their hard work and dedication with anyone who would listen? What would it look like?
What if we wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper talking about the important work that volunteers do to support our community?
What if we wrote our mayors or governors and told the story about how volunteers are improving the lives of their neighbors?
What if we took the time to write our members of Congress to share the work that volunteers are doing to make our neighborhoods better places to live?
What if we let the donors and funders that support our nonprofits know how vital volunteers’ work is to our nonprofits?
What if we wrote thank you notes to our volunteers’ families for the time that volunteers spend with us?
When you write these letters, be sure to include an inspiring or emotional story about the work that volunteers do for your organization. Talk about how your volunteers made it possible for a family to move into their first home together. Tell the story about how a volunteer helped a little girl open up and learn to love reading. Share how volunteers are helping to reclaim an overgrown and abandoned park and are turning it into a space the community can use.
Be sure to take some time this week, whether you’re a volunteer manager, a volunteer, or just know someone who volunteers, and thank a volunteer for the work they do.
I’m a fan of high-fives.
Guest blogger Michael Nealis is Interactive Strategy Coordinator for Points of Light Institute. Most Saturdays he can be found building homes with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity or playing in the dirt with Crop Mob Atlanta.