National Volunteer Week – It Matters!
In Canada there are a host of nationally declared days, weeks and months that are highlighted and recognized – some better known than others. National Volunteer Week, which is fast approaching April 22-27, provides a great opportunity for everyone to consider how important volunteers are to the fabric of their lives.
National Volunteer Week was first recognized in 1943 as a means to create attention about the vital contributions women were making on the home front during the war. It was forgotten after the war but in the 60’s found a resurgence as organizations recognized the importance of thanking volunteers across the country. National Volunteer Week has grown ever since.
There is something very different about this week – and those who work or volunteer in the non-profit sector know it – they recognize that without volunteers many of the services, festivals and the spirit that characterizes communities across Canada would and could not exist except for the involvement of volunteers.
In fact according to the Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteer and Participation almost 12.5 million Canadians, the equivalent of 46% of the population aged 15 and over, volunteered for charitable and nonprofit organizations. Collectively, these volunteers contributed just over 2.1 billion volunteer hours, equivalent to almost 1.1 million full-time jobs.
If you were to convert these hours into wages based on Alberta’s minimum wage ($9.40) this is billions of dollars. However, what volunteers truly contribute cannot be measured in numbers. How much is laughter and love worth in a situation where there seems to be no hope? Trying to move humanity forward, does it have a value? Consider the impact of volunteers who have a profound desire to change the world, and the social problems they are willing to roll up their sleeves for, give their time and bring their talents. There is no accounting terms that can describe the worth in all of that.
It has been said that most people’s lives have been touched by a volunteer in some way. When you consider that in Alberta there are 19,000 non-profit societies and charities who engage approximately 2.5 million volunteers, this statement is most likely true. Therefore, as a member of the public, or as an organization that engages volunteers, taking a moment to recognize the impact of volunteers in the delivery of a multitude of programs and services, celebrating their contributions and generously investing in professional volunteer programs are some of the best ways to say, “Thank you, your contributions matter!”
For more information about our Volunteer Management Certificate Program, visit www.volunteeredmonton.com