Thursday, March 29, 2012

National Volunteer Week

Did you know that April 15-21, 2012 is National Volunteer Week across Canada? Volunteers are an important part of any not-for-profit's success in Canada. Just think about who volunteers to make your library a success - service volunteers (such as pages and programmers), Friends members, and your Board! An important part of a strong volunteer program is ensuring that you make time for recognition. Most volunteers spend time working for you and your organization getting very little back in return. Why not make sure they feel valued and recognized this volunteer week (if not all year round)?

Volunteers: Passion. Action. Impact. is the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week campaign. The theme recognizes the individual volunteers across Canada who dedicate themselves to improving their communities.

The National Volunteer Week website ( provides you with a number of resources to help celebrate:
  • a 60-second PSA is available to submit to your local TV station (the site includes instructions on how to do so). Stations reserve time for Public Service Announcements, so why not try it out to raise awareness of volunteerism in your community?
  • Best Practices for thanking volunteers. Includes free volunteer recognition items and support materials, and suggestions for volunteer recognition gifts.
  • The Campaign Kit on the site includes free: customizable e-cards, posters, banners, powerpoints, videos, certificate of recognition, a mayoral proclamation and more.
  • There is also information on the site regarding volunteer statistics in Canada and a program currently being used in Quebec that provides recognition for volunteers in the form of a professional reference for volunteers that details the skills and experience gained through volunteering. This program is slated to be translated into English for use across Canada. If you are needing to attract more volunteers to your organization, being able to offer something like this will be very attractive to some volunteers.

Take a look at how other organizations recognize their volunteers. It does not necessarily mean a lot of time or money. I received a free pass to Disneyworld once (accommodation and travel not included of course) just for volunteering, and it didn't cost the hosting organization a thing. No matter the time and resources available to you, formal recognition of your volunteer's hard work can go a long way to retaining volunteers and attracting new ones. Don't take them for granted - they can be one of our greatest resources!

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