Value of Volunteer Recognition

If you have ever volunteered before, you will, no doubt, be aware that April and May are the key months when volunteers are recognized, either formally or informally for their “gift of time.”

According to Volunteer Canada, over 13.3 million Canadians “answer the call” each year by volunteering at organizations they care about. The study also outlines why we take time out of our busy life to donate a few hours a week. The desire to help people and give back to the community are the key reasons why volunteers are willing to donate their time. Volunteering is a great way to help stay connected to community and in turn, promotes self-worth. I’d say that is a “win-win” situation for all.

As I reflect back to the hundreds of hours I volunteered at my children’s public school, I recall that real sense of community as we all worked toward a common goal. Whether it was preparing for fundraisers or tutoring students, we hoped that we were making a difference individually and as a community. Each spring, staff would recognize our contribution in a small way, but truth be known, we had already received our gift, we instinctively knew that we had contributed in a meaningful way to the future of the children in our community.

One key finding in the Volunteer Canada 2013 Volunteer Recognition Survey is that that 80 per cent of volunteers would like to be recognized or thanked by the organization they volunteer for by hearing how their work has made a difference. In addition, 70 per cent said they would like to be recognized by being thanked in person or on an ongoing informal basis. Next time you see a volunteer, take a moment and just say “thanks.”

In anticipation of National Volunteer Week April 6-12, I challenge everyone to reflect for a few minutes on how a volunteer has made a difference in your life or how your volunteer experience impacted your life.

From March 23 to April 12 Volunteer Canada is encouraging people to call the VOLUNT-HEAR hotline at 1- 855-372-5077 to a short message and recognize that special volunteer who answered the call for you.

I hope you choose to support this wonderful initiative. You will be glad you did.