Yesterday marked the beginning of National Volunteer Week (April 10-16), a great opportunity to both recognize the great work of volunteers and to get involved in your community! The theme for this year's volunteer week is Celebrating People in Action, which, as HandsOn Network puts it, "captures the meaning of this signature week: Honoring the people who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities." Whether it's celebrating your organization's fantastic volunteers, or finding a place to volunteer your time, there are plenty of resources available to help you this week:
For Organizations: HandsOn Network provides a great three-step list in their National Volunteer Week Resource Guide (click for PDF):
- Get Your Community Involved: provide opportunities and projects for your community members to get involved with, either as an individual or in groups.
- Tell Your Story: share stories about your volunteers and the good they do for your organization! Points of Light Institute would like to hear about your National Volunteer Week activities and their impact on the community. You can send the following information via email to JGeckler@PointsofLight.org:
• Number of volunteers
• Number of volunteer hours
• Number of projects
• Number of volunteer leaders
• Description of people/community impacted
- Recognize and Thank Volunteers: your volunteers work hard for your organization, so show your appreciation and let them know how valued they are!
For Volunteers: There are a number of great places to find opportunities to volunteer for National Volunteer Week! I'd recommend checking Idealist.com, VolunteerMatch, and HandsOn Atlanta for local opportunies. Even if you don't end up volunteering this week, it's a great time to commit to finding a fulfilling volunteer opportunity.
Additionally, on April 16, HandsOn Atlanta will be hosting a volunteer event for Global Youth Service Day, bringing 1,000 young volunteers out to do good at 23 locations around Atlanta! Click here to check out this year's projects and register>>
Why this is so important: Volunteer service is incredibly valuable to your community's nonprofit organizations. Did you know that the dollar value of volunteer time in Georgia is $19.94 as of 2009? (Hat tip to Independent Sector for this awesome map.) According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 63.4 million Americans contributed volunteer service in 2009, up an additional 1.6 million as compared to 2008. 63.4 million Americans contributed 8.1 billion hours of service, which has an estimated dollar value of nearly $169 billion. Highlights for Atlanta (based on an average using 2007-2009 data):
- 1.1 million volunteers
- 27.6% of residents volunteer - ranking them 24th within the 51 large cities
- 39.5 hours per resident - ranking them 14th within the 51 large cities
- $3.4 billion of service contributed
Stats and figures are from Volunteering in America, a resource provided by the National Corporation for National and Community Service. If you'd like more information or want stats for your city or state, be sure to check out their website or download their 2010 report.
Volunteers in Atlanta contributed $3.4 billion worth of service each year from 2007 to 2009. In a time of financial uncertainty and tight budgets, this kind of volantarism is more important than ever before. Bottom line? Get out there and do some good!
Elyse Klova, Program Associate, Foundation Center-Atlanta