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5 Great Ideas to Appreciation Ideas for National Volunteer Month

It's time to appreciate volunteers and recruit new supporters during National Volunteer Month!

Throughout April, nonprofits and community organizations recognize volunteers for their impact on our communities. 

To mark National Volunteer Month, volunteer leaders and coordinators organize events to recognize volunteers for their contributions and volunteer opportunities to generate even more impact. 

Before we dive into ideas for celebrating volunteer month, let’s learn a bit more about the holiday:

What Is National Volunteer Month?

National Volunteer Month, or volunteer appreciation month, is a time to appreciate volunteers nationwide for their impact on our communities.

National Volunteer Month programs usually consist of:

  • volunteer appreciation events
  • unique volunteering opportunities and projects for individuals, teams, and families
  • fundraising events
  • increased marketing efforts to recruit more volunteers and capitalize on increased volunteer interest throughout the month

Why Participate in National Volunteer Month?

Celebrating National Volunteer Month should be on every volunteer leader’s radar. Volunteers are the lifeblood of many nonprofits and charitable organizations, and showing appreciation can boost volunteer engagement year-round. 

Many organizations also see an increase in volunteer interest and recruitment success during the month of April, mainly thanks to social media. For this reason, many organizations choose to ramp up their marketing efforts and create special projects for corporate partners, families, and others that want to serve during volunteer month. 

When Is National Volunteer Month?

When is Volunteer Appreciation Month? 

April is National Volunteer Month. It runs from April 1 to April 30 every year.

Volunteer month is also known as:

  • National Volunteer Appreciation Month
  • Volunteer Awareness Month
  • Volunteer Recognition Month
  • Community service month

Is National Volunteer Week in National Volunteer Month?

National volunteer week, also known as volunteer appreciation week, happens in April each year. It is meant to recognize the efforts and impacts of volunteers in our society and how it has transformed the world.

The event runs for seven days and usually incorporates a theme. Generally, it's held on the third week of the month.

History of National Volunteer Month

National Volunteer Month began in Canada in 1943. It was introduced to recognize and appreciate the women who participated in World War II. Their efforts included collecting supplies and helping wounded soldiers. 

The history of National Volunteer Month in America dates back to April 20, 1974. Richard Nixon, the current president at that time, signed proclamation 4288. He designated the week beginning April 21 of the same year as Earth week.

The proclamation urged people to give special attention to education efforts and personal voluntary activities to enhance and protect our life-giving environment.

How to Celebrate or Participate in National Volunteer Month

Honor volunteers in your community during the month of April. Observe the occasion with these volunteer gift ideas, host a volunteer fair, or create a social media campaign to welcome new support.

Activities for Nonprofit Organizations During National Volunteer Month

Wondering how to get involved during National Volunteer Month? Although you can get involved through material and financial donations, direct participation will make a difference in someone's life. Through their dedication towards a healthy civil society, volunteers can participate in programs like: 

  • Helping senior citizens at shelter homes or hospitals. Volunteers can help by cleaning, serving food, and playing games.
  • Organizing a fundraiser. Volunteers assist in activities that help raise money for local charities and nonprofit organizations, like making phone calls, staffing fundraising events, and putting together mailers. 
  • Join in green space clean-up. Volunteers can help clean beaches, public parks, and rivers. 
  • Visit an animal shelter. Animal shelters are frequently in need of puppy socialization, dog walks, and other tasks that create better lives for animals. 
  • Support military members and veterans. Volunteers can collect donations, edit resumes, file taxes, and do other activities that help improve the lives of veterans. 
  • Visit children’s hospitals. Help bring smiles to children in hospitals by bringing craft projects, playing music, and giving handmade cards. 

Ideas for Celebrating National Volunteer Month

Use these ideas to prepare for National Volunteer Month celebrations. You don't have to organize an expensive party to celebrate volunteers. In fact, a small gesture goes a long way. 

Some ideas to kick-start the celebrations include:

Show Appreciation

Volunteers are an integral part of nonprofit organizations. They dedicate their energy, talents, and time to ensure nonprofits grow and serve the community. You can deeply connect with your volunteers in simple ways, such as:

Share a Personalized Video

A video tailored to thank volunteers for their outstanding work will make them feel appreciated. State their impact by sharing statistics that demonstrate how their dedication has positively impacted your organization. Invite community members, clients, volunteer leaders, and Executive Director to say a few words of thanks. 

Create Individualized Notes

Personalized handwritten thank-you note brings warmth and excitement. Take time to write a letter thanking volunteers for their contribution. Amazingly, you can ask volunteers to write customized notes if they're overwhelming.

On top of the personalized notes, you can also create a special gift like a handbook or watch to appreciate the outstanding volunteer of the month.

Give Meaningful Gifts

Show your gratitude with these volunteer gift ideas that are equal parts meaningful and cost-effective. 

Create a Social Media Campaign

Social media is a powerful recruitment tool. Capitalize on increased volunteer interest during volunteer month by creating a social media campaign that highlights your volunteer program and calls for new volunteers. 

Post each day during volunteer month: announce a new virtual project, invite participants to get involved with a catchy call-to-action, feature a superstar volunteer, or share your program's volunteer impact!

Don't forget to highlight the event on your website, and use the #NationalVolunteerMonth hashtag. 

Organize a Bring-a-Friend Program

Create a sense of community and maximize impact with a bring-a-friend initiative for the month of April. Ask every volunteer to bring a friend or a relative—after all, volunteering together is better! 

Greet every guest with a warm welcome and create an easy, streamlined experience with volunteer management software so they’re more likely to volunteer again. 

Remember, word-of-mouth recruitment is a cost-effective tool for growing your program. Capitalize on increased interest during Volunteer Month and focus on creating an experience that makes your volunteers happy—they’re more likely to spread the word about your program!

How to Start a Volunteer Program

Want to start a volunteer program in time for National Volunteer Month? 

Here’s how:

  1. Assess community needs. Identify gaps in service that can be filled by volunteers. 
  2. Identify a cause that will unite volunteers. Don’t forget to come up with a catchy program name
  3. Create a volunteer mission statement for clarity among community members.
  4. Establish a recruitment plan. Utilize volunteer management tools, press releases, your volunteer website, and social media.
  5. Match volunteer interests and skills. Ensure volunteers are participating in activities they’re passionate about through volunteer matching.
  6. Create a volunteer appreciation strategy. Make a plan for thanking and recognizing your volunteers regularly. 

National Volunteer Month is a time to recognize and appreciate volunteers who dedicate their skills and time toward a better society. Additionally, it's also a great opportunity for coordinators and volunteer leaders to organize events to inform communities of the importance of volunteerism.

Celebrate your supporters and boost your recruitment efforts throughout the volunteer month in April. 

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