It’s one of the biggest times of the year for the volunteering sector. For 7 days the media gives volunteering the attention it deserves and urges everyone to get out and give back.
But what does National Volunteer Week mean for nonprofits?
Many organizations take the opportunity to organize extra-special volunteering days to attract new community members to the cause, focusing on large groups and high-profile activities that will ensure media pick-up. But National Volunteer Week isn’t just about parties and one-off volunteer days (although these are great!) No, the real meat of this annual event is in the relationships.
Your relationships with your volunteers are some of the most important that your organization has. National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to take some time to reflect on these relationships, to appreciate them, and to strengthen them.
And don’t forget to make some new friends while you’re at it. There’s no better time to begin building a relationship with a volunteer than during this week of wonderful volunteering frenzy. Here are some great ways to honor both old and new volunteers during National Volunteer Week:
- Plan a volunteer appreciation event. Here’s an article with some good tips.
- Take advantage of the big buzz about volunteering and create some new volunteer opportunities for new supporters. You can post them on VolunteerMatch using keyword “National Volunteer Week,” and they’ll be streamed on our special seasons of service page.
- Just as your volunteers strive to do their best for you, show your respect for them by learning all the skills you need to run a great volunteer program. There are now 17 free webinars available in the VolunteerMatch Learning Center.
- Update your listings on VolunteerMatch so your dedicated volunteers can find you more easily – after all, relationships are a two-way street.
- Share the stories of your volunteers, both new and old, and what they’ve done for your organization.
As Carey Fritz pointed out in her recent article about volunteer management, many organizations don’t recognize the key place a volunteer program has in the fulfillment of their mission. It’s easy to get bogged down in dollars and cents, especially in rough economic times. Take the opportunity of National Volunteer Week to get everyone at your organization focused on what matters: your relationships with your volunteers.
As members of the VolunteerMatch community, you’re already very familiar with this universal truth – that volunteers are at least as valuable as both silver and gold, if not more so.
(Photo by aniket.bhosale)