Celebrating National Volunteer Week!

2013 National Volunteer Week takes place April 21-27.

In 2013, National Volunteer Week takes place April 21-27. National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate, recognize, and honor the millions of individuals around the country who serve as volunteers in an effort to promote positive change in their communities. This year’s theme is “celebrating people in action.” Volunteer recognition acknowledges accomplishments, reinforces efforts and is a sign of appreciation. It is an important aspect of long-term volunteer retention. Volunteer recognition should occur throughout the service year; however, National Volunteer Week can be an excellent time to pause and celebrate a volunteer’s contributions. If celebrated thoughtfully, National Volunteer Week can also be an opportunity for volunteer programs to receive public recognition, thereby inspiring new volunteers to join the ranks.

Points of Light, a national resource center for volunteer and nonprofit organizations, provides excellent resources for volunteer administrators to use during National Volunteer Week. Available tools include the National Volunteer Week logo, media communication tools and resources to connect with key stakeholders like local and state government officials. Points of Light also provides opportunities for volunteer programs to nominate volunteers for awards including the Presidents Volunteer Service Award, the Daily Point of Light Award and the Extra Mile – Points of Light Volunteer Pathway.

The Michigan 4-H Recognition Handbook, a resource of Michigan State University Extension, says that recognition provides individuals with an opportunity for self-assessment, reflection and rewards to motivate and increase self-esteem in all settings. Recognition is an important component of volunteer retention. When volunteers feel appreciated and important, they are more likely to feel connected to the program and continue their involvement. National Volunteer Week is a wonderful opportunity to thank and acknowledge volunteers for their efforts, while also asking them to think about how their positive experience might also inspire someone else to support the cause of your volunteer program. To join the conversation on how you plan to celebrate National Volunteer Week, visit Michigan 4-H on Facebook.

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