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National Volunteer Week Celebrations

Several countries now have National Volunteer Week celebrations. For general information about these weeks, see our events page.  Also see the official annual information at these sites:

Client-Personalized Cards
During National Volunteer Appreciation Week, I created note cards with inspirational quotes and thoughts. Our clients used them to write "thank-yous" or other comments to their volunteer counselors. The counselors were deeply touched and surprised.
Submitted by Jeri Shumate

Volunteers Rock!
To celebrate National Volunteer Week this year we chose to host a 50's themed Rockin' Volunteer Bash luncheon to say "Volunteers, You Rock!" Many of the staff wore 50's style clothing and all guests were encouraged to do the same. As guests arrived, two of our staff rolled around on roller skates with record-style trays full of bazooka gum and red licorice. Music from the 50's played behind an inflatable juke box. The room which held the food had handmade music notes and records hanging from the ceiling. The seating tables were covered with black and white checkered tablecloths with a centerpiece of a cut-out couple dancing on records. We found many of our decorations at party supplies websites. The food also stayed with the theme. We served In-N-Out Burgers, fruit salad, macaroni and cheese, chips and brownies. We also set up a soda shop where two staff served rootbeer floats and refreshments. Our Rockin' Volunteer Bash was a huge success and a fun day for all.
Submitted by Jessica Richter,

"What Does My Mentor Mean to Me?"
I coordinate an AmeriCorps Program in Texas and our members/volunteers tutor and mentor at-risk. For National Volunteer Week we are sponsoring an essay contest. The theme is "What Does My Mentor Mean To Me" We are going to post these essays on the program listserv and prizes will be awarded for the top three essays.
Submitted by Leslie, Special Programs Coordinator, AmeriCorps-UTA, TX

Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon
Every April during Volunteer Appreciation Week we hold a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon to recognize the efforts of our volunteers. This past year we served 700 free lunches to say thanks to our volunteers. Other activities take place this week as well including a button program that recognizes our volunteers with special discounts from local merchants.
Submitted by Volunteer Centre of the Blue Sky Region, Canada

A Personal Moment
We are celebrating National Volunteer Week in our High School with an assembly that will recognize 3 volunteers that have always been there for so many of our school, community and veterans events. While we only recognize 3 with awards there are countless others, parents, grandparents and friends that are there working in the background in so many ways. It only takes a minute to recognize them on a personal level when you see them. Bring them to a stop (they are usually very busy), look them in the eye with your best smile and say "Thank you for all the help you give!".
Submitted by Becky Dirks, Post Adjutant VFW Post 4077 , Anamosa Iowa

Volunteers are Gold
This year for our Volunteer Recognition Event during National Volunteer Week, we are having an Olympic theme. We are having various staff members speak to recognize each group of volunteers as to why "Volunteers Are Our Gold"! We ordered volunteer-designed water bottles and filled with candy with our logo imprinted on the back with our theme "You Are Our Gold". We are greeting each volunteer at the event by hanging gold medals around their necks. We are decorating in red, white, and blue and having the Olympic ring display at the front of the room. Lastly, we are having a Power Point presentation of events and volunteer pictures from the last year with a gold medal design. We will play the Olympic theme during the presentation.
Submitted by Heather Melton, Volunteer Coordinator, The Elizabeth Hospice, Escondido, CA 92025

Hats off to Volunteers
Our theme last year for Volunteer Recognition was "Hats Off to You". All the staff came wearing outrageous hats of all kinds, the potted plants as centerpieces were in hats turned upside down. But the most fun was that all 100 of those present made newspaper hats - the kind that it takes at least 3 people to make - one as model, one to hold 3 or 4 sheets of newspaper down on model's head, one to wrap tape around the model's head and paper, and many hands to roll the paper up as the hat's brim. Volunteers met and worked with all sorts of new people, decorated the hats with flowers and balloons and whatever else they could find and had so much fun. I have never seen a room full of people who did not know each other have so much fun working together. Everyone left with a totally unique hat and a great memory. Their sense of commitment to our organization for another year was sealed by newspaper hats.
Submitted by Catherine Graham, Volunteer Services Manager, IHS, The Institute for Human Services

Chocolate Bars
We always have our volunteer recognition event in June but this year, because it is International Year of Volunteers, I did not want National Volunteer Week to go by without some special acknowledgment. During April, I sent all our volunteers a chocolate bar in the mail with a special card inviting them to our BBQ in June and telling them all the scientific reasons why chocolate is good for you, plus a funny list all about chocolate I found on the Internet. It was such a small and simple gesture but I have never had so much feedback. The neat thing is that I have 200 volunteers and I only get about 60 individuals out to our official volunteer recognition event. This way even the volunteers who never come to events received a treat, and they were surprised and thrilled.
Submitted by Linda Sunderland, Coordinator of Volunteers and Education, Hospice Peterborough

At a recent Volunteer Recognition night for our agency, we played a game of "Jeopardy" with topics relating to our volunteers and our agency's work. Those who answered questions correctly received a chocolate truffle. We also did a take of of Dave Letterman's "Top Ten" by coming up with our own list of "Top Ten" reasons to Volunteer with our agency. At various points throughout the evening, we revealed one of the reasons. We also read little poems we had written about certain volunteers we were highlighting with special recognition, then presented them with the poem.
Submitted by Robin Albert, Volunteer Coordinator, Sexual Assault Support Service

Hats Off to Volunteers Day!
How about a "Hats Off to Volunteers Day?' Just have the staff wear a hat (any kind) on that day and tip their hat to each volunteer they meet. Now I need some ideas. We still have the big luncheon to recognize volunteers during National Volunteer Week. Our theme next year will be "Celebrate the Magic of Volunteering." Of course we'll have a magician; centerpieces will be black top hats with rabbits in them.
Submitted by Jean Anton, Director of Volunteer Services, Shriners Hospital for Children - St. Louis

National Volunteer Week Packet
A great National Volunteer Week packet is located on the University of Nebraska - 4-H website at It has a lots of general recognition ideas! Submitted by Tina Veal, Extension Assistant, Youth Development, McLean County 4-H, Illinois


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