This year, National Volunteer Week was celebrated April 18-24, and designated as a time to recognize all volunteers and their spirit of volunteerism. It is a signature event for organizations across the nation, which celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary things to improve communities.
Every third week in April, unless the spring religious holidays coincide, non-profits , community groups, volunteer centers, corporations and city and state governments hold receptions, luncheons and other special events to recognize their volunteers. During this time, organizations often hand out awards or gifts to volunteers to acknowledge their contributions.
National Volunteer Week, recognizes the contributions to society made by millions of volunteers nationwide, and promotes the spirit of volunteering by making it more visible to the general public. The need for volunteers to address pressing social issues is growing, putting enormous pressure on volunteer organizations across the country. It is crucial that the available volunteer force continues to grow and that its members are properly placed, trained, managed and recognized.
Calling volunteerism “one of the hallmarks of American Life,” President Richard Nixon signed an executive order on April 20, 1974, declaring that week be dedicated to those who give their time to charity, according to the American Presidency Project.
Every year, 62 million Americans volunteer at their local schools, hospices, thrift shops, community centers and homeless shelters. From museums to parks, animals to people, education to conservation, there are thousands of volunteer opportunities that span just about every skill and talent.
Currently, 26 percent of the population donates an average of 52 hours of their time (per person) a year- about a hour a week according to the United States Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The most active volunteers are those between the ages of 35 to 44, with women volunteering at a higher rate of 29.4 percent and men, at 23.2 percent.