Celebrate America’s volunteers in April
When: April 18 – 24
What: Many charitable, religious, and community organizations have dedicated teams of volunteers who make progress possible. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, approximately 61.3 million Americans take time to volunteer in their communities. National Volunteer Week, observed April 18-24, celebrates those who offer their time and skills year-round.
Background: Sponsored by the Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network, National Volunteer Week marks its 36th year of “Celebrating People in Action.” Several awards, including the President’s Volunteer Service Award, will be granted during the weeklong event, as well as other recognition events for leaders who dedicated their lives to service.
Story Pitch: If your organization gets a boost from volunteers, now is the time to recognize their efforts. Promoting your volunteers also promotes the work they do for your organization. Additionally, experts can weigh in on the health aspects of volunteering.
The Story Hook: More than 8.2 million teenagers volunteered in 2008, an increase of 441,000 from 2007, according to research completed by Volunteering in America. In addition, 26.4 percent of the adult population contributed 8 billion hours of volunteer service in 2008. What factors are involved in the growth of volunteerism among the general population? How vital is volunteerism to the economy’s health? Consider the following when making your pitch:
- Has the economic crisis affected volunteering rates? Have those out of work increased their volunteering activities?
- Have companies affected by layoffs replaced any roles with volunteers?
- What kind of volunteer opportunities are available?
- How can volunteers in various age groups offer different talents and skills?
- What are the physical or psychological benefits of volunteering?
- How can organizations attract and retain active volunteers?
- What resources, such as Web sites, provide information on volunteering?
Tips: Provide information for a volunteer coordinator who can discuss methods for recruiting and training volunteers. Be sure to have volunteers on hand to speak about their experiences.
Corporation for National and Community Service
HandsOn Network: National Volunteer Week
–Researched, compiled & written by Lisa Rowan
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