April 18-24, 2020 is National Volunteer Week. This week, celebrated annually in many countries, shows appreciation for individuals who volunteer and promotes volunteerism in general. It was first conceived in 1943 in Canada as a way to celebrate the contribution made by women on the home front to the war effort.
After World War II ended, National Volunteer Week declined in popularity until the 1960s when it revived and eventually began gaining popularity in the United States as well. National Volunteer Week in the U.S. was first established via a Presidential Proclamation signed by Richard Nixon in 1974. Since then, the American President has issued a new National Volunteer Week proclamation each year since the holiday’s inception.
In the United States and Canada, it is held in those two countries in mid to late April. In New Zealand and Australia, it is held in May. In the UK, it is held in the first week of June. There are as many ways to celebration National Volunteer Week as there are volunteer opportunities. Many organizations host special events to help engage their local communities in volunteering and make them aware of opportunities that are available year round. At Our Fundraising Search, we are going to spend the week featuring a few important volunteers that we have worked with personally, and who help support some of our clients.
We encourage every nonprofit to celebrate and thank their volunteers. Volunteerism is truly the backbone of philanthropy.