Volunteering: a week to remember
This year, Volunteers’ Week is in its 35th year. Happening 1 to 7 June, tens of thousands of organisations will be celebrating the millions of volunteers who give their time, skill and passion to their communities.
Volunteering is huge across the UK. One in five people regularly give their time to a club, group or society1. With a huge number of people preferring to give time less regularly or outside of organisations, that figure goes up to more than half of the population getting involved in their communities. That’s huge! Conservation is no different, with hundreds of thousands of people giving their time2.
Mark Fox, a volunteer with Historic England says “I love volunteering for Historic England which has benefited me personally through developing my knowledge of historic West Somerset, enabling me to continue to do something worthwhile despite my disability.” Talking about how he volunteers in the run up to Volunteers’ Week last year3, Mark says “I support Volunteers’ Week and wish it every success in increasing the amount of volunteer time devoted to the many projects covered by the initiative.”
NCVO recently asked 10,000 people across Great Britain what they thought about volunteering. Those who volunteered were most satisfied if they received some sort of recognition for their efforts. Broadly speaking, people felt recognition from their organisation was most effective4.
That’s why Volunteers’ Week is so important. Happening 1 to 7 June every year, Volunteers’ Week is a time to celebrate all the great things volunteers do. While every week is a great time to thank volunteers, Volunteers’ Week is bigger, bolder and a chance for everyone to celebrate the power of volunteering.
If there are volunteers in your organisation, now is the perfect time to plan how you will celebrate. There are loads of free resources and ideas at volunteersweek.org to inspire and help you plan. If you’re on a budget, social media is a great way to publicly say thanks. Fancy doing a little more? Then thank you cards with messages from the boss might be a good way to go. Many organisations hold Volunteers’ Week parties throughout the week too, and ask a VIP to attend.
Get involved in #VolunteersWeek
Whatever you do, remember to shout about it too. Use #VolunteersWeek on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to show what you’re up to as well as see what other organisations are doing to celebrate.
The celebration doesn’t stop after Volunteers’ Week. People give their time all year round. The resources available at volunteersweek.org can be used any time if the year. For the 12 million people giving their time regularly to good causes, the least we can do is say thanks.
Have you been inspired to volunteer yourself? Check out the Volunteers’ Week website for more stories from volunteers as well as ways to get involved.
1. Volunteers’ Week is a time to say thank you for the fantastic contribution volunteers make.
2. During the week, hundreds of events and celebrations take place across the country, saying thank you to volunteers and recognising their invaluable and diverse contribution to the UK.
3. On the Volunteers’ Week website, you’ll find inspiring volunteering stories, ways to get involved in the week, and free downloadable resources to help make your celebrations a success.
4. The campaign was established in 1984 by Volunteering England, which merged with NCVO in 2013. NCVO now leads this UK-wide campaign.
5. Shaun is volunteering development manager at NCVO, overseeing strategy for the development of volunteering and volunteer management good practice. He joined NCVO following five years as head of volunteering at Samaritans, leading the involvement of 20,000 volunteers across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Before that he was with Volunteer Centre Greenwich supporting 300+ member organising to involve volunteers and Olympic/Paralympic related programmes including Team London Ambassadors. He is currently a vice chair of Greater London Volunteering and recently completed research on how the psychological contract applies to volunteer management.
2 Getting Involved, NCVO. https://c-js.co.uk/2ScDpEj
4 Time Well Spent, NCVO. http://www.ncvo.org.uk/timewellspent