April is Volunteer Appreciation Month
Volunteers are Awesome!
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month! National Volunteer Week began in 1974 when President Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. Since then, every U.S. President has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week, which has grown each year with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. You have the opportunity during National Volunteer Week, which takes place this year, April 19th – 25th, to reach out and express your gratitude to those awesome people who lend their time, talent, voice and support to causes they care about in their community.
According to the Corporation for National & Community service, overall, in Massachusetts in 2015:
- 24.8% of residents volunteer
- 1,336,559 volunteers
- 28.2 volunteer hours per capita
- 150.02 million hours of service
- $3.6 billion of service contributed
- 50.8% of residents donate $25 or more to charity
LUK Inc. volunteers include those who serve on the LUK Board, LUK Mentoring Advisory Board, who are interns and LUK Mentors, volunteer for special events like the Rodman Ride for Kids, the LUK Mentoring Kids at Heart Gala, and the Common Ground Basketball Tournament . Volunteers are one of our countries most important assets. Without volunteers, there are many programs that would not exist and many events that support those programs, would not take place. The LUK Mentoring Program is one of those programs, volunteer driven.
Here are some tips on becoming a volunteer*:
- Research the causes or issues that are important to you. Look for a group that deals with issues about which you feel strongly.
- Consider what you have to offer. If you enjoy outdoor work, or have a knack for teaching, you may want to look for a volunteer opportunity in which your special skills can be utilized. Similarly, you may want to think about your specific personality and how your organization skills or communication style might fit with different organizations or activities.
- Think outside the box! Many community groups that are looking for volunteers, like neighborhood watch programs, prisons, disaster relief organizations, youth organizations, intergenerational programs, and park services may not have occurred to you but could just be the perfect fit.
- There’s no need to wait to be asked. There are many ways to find organizations that are looking for volunteers. Ask your friends or colleagues about their own volunteering activities. The Internet has great online volunteer referral services that can help you find the right volunteer opportunity for you.
- When you find an organization that is in line with your interests, request an interview and plan for it in much the same way that you would plan for a job interview. Be ready to describe your interests, qualifications, and background, and also be prepared to ask your interviewers about their organization and the benefits they offer to their volunteers. An interview will allow you and the organization to find the right match for your skills and interests.
- Would you like to learn something new? Consider whether the organization offers training or professional development opportunities for their volunteers. Volunteering can provide you with the chance to learn about something you’re interested in and develop skills in a new area.
- Find the volunteer activity that fits your schedule. Organizations need different levels of commitment for different types of volunteer activities.
- Volunteer with friends or as a family. Think about looking for a volunteer opportunity that would be suitable for parents and children to do together, or for husband and wife or a group of friends to take on as a team. Volunteering with others can be a great way to get to know people better and can help keep you excited about volunteering.
- Virtual Volunteering- yes, there is such a thing. If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organizations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work over the computer. This can be a great way to get started in volunteering, and can also provide a way to volunteer at home on a flexible schedule.
- Don’t give up! If you find that your volunteering experience is not all that you expected, talk to your volunteer supervisor or coordinator about it. Think of what could make it better and check with them to see if your ideas are possibilities.
Of course we would like you to volunteer for LUK! If you would like to learn more about the LUK Mentoring Program, serve on the Mentoring Advisory Board or help with our fundraising efforts go to www.LUK.org/Mentoring or call 800-579-0000. Click here to see the volunteer opportunities available.
Please take a moment to recognize the volunteers who make our community a better place and go to www.facebook.com/LUKMentoring where we are highlighting our generous mentors and volunteers. We would like to thank all the LUK Inc. volunteers and encourage those who are thinking about volunteering to find the right opportunity!
*adapted from materials compiled by the nonprofit coalition Independent Sector