national volunteer week Thank You

National Volunteer Week 2022: Resources & Ideas for Your Nonprofit 

National Volunteer Week is just around the corner here in the US and Canada, and now is a great time to get your plan in motion.  

It’s the time of year when we recognize the invaluable contributions of volunteers. It’s also a fantastic time to raise awareness both inside your organization and outside in your community about the continuing need for volunteers and volunteerism. 

Since 1974, volunteer-involving organizations have been celebrating those that give so much of their time and talent to causes in need. It’s a fantastic time to acknowledge volunteers at all levels from your board of directors to direct-service volunteers to episodic volunteers. 

Now, more than ever, volunteerism needs a boost of energy, excitement, and inspiration. With the number of active volunteer roles and hours down across the board, it will be critical to raise the profile of volunteerism once again. 

By highlighting the accomplishments of volunteers from all walks of life and levels of engagement, you can also inspire others in your community to step up for the first time or return to volunteering after a pandemic hiatus. 

So, to help get you get started off on the right foot, we’ve created a helpful guide to think through your special week. 

Opportunities to Build Momentum for National Volunteer Week (April – June 2022)
There are plenty of opportunities to raise awareness around volunteerism, celebrate and recognize volunteers for their contributions, and get folks (re)mobilized for service (see below for details).  

As you think about recognizing volunteers this year, in particularly, think about leveraging this event to build back momentum. 

Results from our 2022 Volunteer Management Progress report reveal that volunteer opportunities are down as well as the total number of volunteers and the average hours they contribute each month. 

It will take a converted effort to build back to pre-pandemic levels, and now is the perfect time to get started.

Here are some prompts to get you thinking … 

  • What is the BEST way to authentically acknowledge volunteers for their service, beyond (or in addition to) plaques, pins, certificates, and gifts? 
  • How can you re-build a sense of community in your lapsed volunteers through celebrations during this time? 
  • How can you align your volunteer re-engagement and recruitment with these events? 
  • Who can you partner with in your community and leverage this month as a time to raise the profile of volunteerism and make the case for service? Think: fellow volunteer-involving organizations, corporate sponsors, secondary schools and universities, local volunteer centers, etc. 
  • Who can you reach out to in the media, as well as use your own channels, to share positive stories ad volunteers who make a difference? 
  • How can you rebuild moments and excitement within the hearts of volunteers, co-workers, and leadership around the power and potential of volunteerism by getting everyone involved? 

In the past, celebrating volunteers once a year may have been a fun, yet non-essential activity. Times have changed, and it may be your best chance at bringing back, and keeping, a formidable team to support your mission-critical efforts. 

global volunteer week

Information & Resources for National Volunteer Week 

Below are how different countries and organizations are celebrating around the world. Consider aligning your events with one or more of these. That way, you will have a better chance of getting press coverage to amplify your messages. 


National Volunteer Week is a fantastic opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time and talent to causes they care about. Their stories also serve to inspire others to take action and be a force that transforms the world.



National Volunteer Week we celebrate the contributions of Canada’s millions of volunteers: their actions, their understanding, and their genuine concern for the world around them. It’s also a time to affirms the strong connection between volunteerism and empathy.



The Points of Light Foundation is planning a campaign for April. It’s an opportunity to recognize volunteers, encourage volunteerism and charitable contributions, share volunteer stories, and raise awareness about the power of volunteerism to transform. 


GOOD DEEDS DAY (April 3, 2022) 

Good Deeds Day was started in Israel and is now a global celebration that unites people from more than 100 countries to do charitable deeds for the benefit of others and the planet. Based on the simple notion that each person can contribute something, it’s a terrific way to kick off Global Volunteer Month. 



National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. It’s a chance to celebrate, recognize the vital contributions of volunteers, and to say thank you. 


UK VOLUNTEERS WEEK (June 1-6, 2022) 

Led by NCVO and a coalition of national volunteer organizations, Volunteers Week is a chance to thank volunteers for the wonderful contributions they make to communities in both small grassroots organizations and larger, household-name charities across the UK. 


Reach out to other volunteer-involving organizations in your community and see what they are planning. There’s strength in numbers, and solidarity maters in today’s world.  

Perhaps you can collaborate on a community-wide event or theme and create something that inspires far beyond your agency’s doors. 

volunteer thank you note

Individual Acts of Gratitude

“Good job and thank you!” 

These simple words are all that volunteers need to hear. They are also important for you to express, from a wellness perspective, 

Research shows that acts of gratitude can reduce stress and make you happier. 

However, some managers really struggle with saying these words. Our brains are biased toward seeing the negative, rather than the positive, so they are most often used to speaking with subordinates when they have a complaint or concern. And it becomes a habit. 

Not volunteer leaders though.  

Through my own experience leading volunteers and from many volunteer leaders I have met over the years, showing gratitude to your volunteers comes very naturally. And those who do so often are rewarded with higher volunteer productivity and happier teams. 

The concern most volunteer managers have, though, is how to show appreciation for the hours that a person donates for your cause without spending a lot of money or giving away another little tchotchke that will likely end up collecting dust somewhere. 

If you ask most volunteers, they will tell you they do not want you spending your hard-earned dollars for your program on “stuff” to give them to show your appreciation. 

I once had a volunteer who had DONE SO MUCH that I was determined to thank him somehow that would let him know how grateful we were for his deep commitment to our organization.  

This was a business leader who had donated above and beyond on all levels: time, talent and treasure for several years. He would blatantly say, please don’t buy me a plaque, spend the money to serve more people. 

During one of our annual events for which his business was a sponsor, we presented him with a mayoral proclamation that gave details about his outstanding service and honored him as a community leader.  

He was really touched, and we finally felt like we had given him some well-deserved recognition and appreciation. 

How much did this cost? Nothing.  

We all are working on finding that special something to help our volunteers know how grateful we are for their service.  

The simplest way is to say, “Good job” and “Thank You” every time we work with them. 

Gratitude also helps employees (and volunteers) see beyond a disaster or failure and recognize their gains. This is good news for nonprofits who must address complex challenges every day. 

Robert Emmons, an expert on gratitude and professor at UC Berkeley, argues that gratitude gives teams a tool “to transform an obstacle into an opportunity,” and reframe a loss as a potential gain.  Volunteer appreciation can actually help us become more resilient even in tough times. 

“Gratitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we fall. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals,” he notes. 

In addition, researchers have found that giving thanks lowers daily aggression, hurt feelings, and overall sensitivity. In fact, an activity as basic as writing a letter or mentally counting your blessings once a week has been shown to decrease aggression. Gratitude also increases the effectiveness of decision making by increasing levels of patience. 

Keep volunteers coming back with real, authentic gratitude with our free [Cheat Sheet] Volunteer Thank You Letter Sample. GRAB IT HERE >> 

Get Buy-In for Volunteer Appreciation Activities 

There are two basic reasons for formal volunteer recognition. If you’re getting resistance to spending time or money, try to understand which your leadership is struggling with. 

Reason #1: Basically… it’s Expected of You 

OK, you knew this reason, but that doesn’t help you tackle it. You want to appreciate the true needs of your volunteers, but many of their expectations are never verbally expressed. See if you can provide evidence (survey results help) that volunteers don’t believe you are holding up your side of the bargain. 

Reason #2: To Build You Nonprofit’s Capacity 

Ah, that sounds more like music to your ED’s ears. There is a business case to made for raising the bar on case for simple expressions of gratitude. This practice has been shown to directly affect team:

  • Resilience 
  • Productivity 
  • Morale 
  • Well-being 
  • And more 

So, the next time you get push back on your proposal to recognize volunteers and board members, share the evidence. Share why it matters for overall wellness and team morale. 

Then, link it back to your agency’s goals. 

The following research studies offer more evidence for expressing gratitude: 

In closing, to genuinely appreciate volunteers, we must go beyond plaques, pins, certificates, and giveaways.  

This national volunteer week engage in some deep listening and honoring the true needs, and value, of volunteers.