Celebrating Volunteer Appreciation Month
April is a time of excitement as the cherry blossoms, daffodils, and various community gatherings and celebrations spring up. April is also National Volunteer Month, a celebration of volunteers’ impact across our communities, and a yearly reminder to get involved.
Volunteers are essential to the social fabric of our communities, making a difference in the lives of those around them. They selflessly give their time and effort to help with tasks like picking up trash from our lands and shores, fostering shelter animals, helping students with homework, organizing food and clothing drives, and so much more! Now, during National Volunteer Month, is the perfect time to volunteer and celebrate the invaluable contributions of volunteers across our South Puget Sound communities.
History of National Volunteer Month
National Volunteer Week debuted in the U.S. in April of 1974 through a Presidential Proclamation, marking an era that expanded volunteerism and the rise of humanitarian aid organizations such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and others. In the early 1990s, the week-long celebration grew to a global month-long celebration as community members came together to support one another and their communities generously- after all, philanthropy is for everyone.
Philanthropy is about the positive impact we can make. It’s about everyday actions we do for others, like donating spare change to a local cause, supporting a community member in need, or volunteering at a school’s bake sale or nonprofit supply drive. Each act of giving, no matter how small, has the power to create a ripple effect of positivity. It’s these acts of kindness that come together to form a mosaic of generosity at the heart of philanthropy.
How to Participate
There are plenty of ways to get involved with local causes that tug at your interests. To find volunteer opportunities near you, check out Volunteer Match, JustServe, or contact your favorite local nonprofit to see how you can help.
Today we wish to introduce you to three local organizations with exciting volunteer opportunities; we will also be showcasing a few others throughout the month on our Facebook and Instagram pages, so be sure to follow along for other ways to get involved.
The Bigelow House Museum is a nonprofit membership-based organization operated in partnership with the Olympia Historical Society. As the oldest still-standing residence in Olympia, and one of the oldest homes across the Pacific Northwest, their team is “devoted to presenting the stories from our past that enrich the present and inform the future of Olympia”. All are invited to join them in exploring, preserving, and promoting Olympia’s History through exciting volunteer opportunities, such as helping coordinate docent-led tours, assisting with videography needs, social media management, collections inventory, landscaping, and so much more! Their team is excited to reopen to the public soon for the first time since their pandemic closure and looks forward to engaging with South Sound residents and visitors. If you are interested in helping further their mission or would like to learn more about their many volunteer opportunities, please reach out by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DCYF Office in Centralia is on a mission to “protect children and strengthen families so they flourish.” This public-sector social services office seeks a volunteer coordinator to help coordinate 2023 office improvement efforts with other volunteers to help organize donation closets and bring new life and energy to their visitation rooms. If you are interested in helping their team as a volunteer coordinator, please get in touch with Denise McJohnson at email@example.com.
Kitten Rescue of Mason County is dedicated to placing abandoned and unwanted cats and kittens in safe and loving homes. In addition, they provide veterinary care and immunizations to hundreds of kittens and cats each year and run a spay/neuter assistance program for low-income community members. Their team is currently looking for volunteers to assist with housekeeping shifts (duties include cleaning cages, scooping litter boxes, changing out food and water bowls, socialization time, and other tasks as needed) and have a great need for people that can help fill the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 6-8 pm shifts. Alternatively, their Foster Care Program, which allows the Kitten Rescue to save many more kittens and cats each year through thoughtful partnerships with safe, loving homes, is also looking for interested foster care families. For more information about these volunteer opportunities or to sign up to help, please visit their volunteer page and be sure to submit your volunteer application.
Nonprofit Volunteer Training
For our nonprofit friends looking to enhance their current or new volunteer program, we recommend taking advantage of the many learning events offered through the Nonprofit Association of Washington (NAWA). We recently partnered with NAWA and the Secretary of State to provide a learning opportunity around volunteer programs titled The Four R’s of Volunteer Management. If you could not attend, we look forward to boosting other similar opportunities that help expand local nonprofit capacity through our communications channels in the near future.
Continual Gratitude for Volunteers
When the Foundation was established in 1989, it operated as an all-volunteer organization. We are forever grateful to the many volunteers who set the stage for what the Foundation has been able to achieve in service to our South Puget Sound communities. Our work today wouldn’t have been possible without their efforts during our earliest years.
Today, volunteers continue to play a vital role in the Community Foundation’s work. In 2022, 27 individuals volunteered to serve on scholarship review committees, and 40 community members offered their time as reviewers for Community Grants committees. These dedicated volunteers actively contribute to our aspirations of being a Community Foundation that is of, by, and for the community. Their invaluable support helps us fulfill our mission and make a meaningful impact on the communities we serve.
By prioritizing their perspectives and experiences in our decision-making process, we strive to ensure that our work is aligned with the needs and aspirations of the community, and that our awards and grants are equitable and impactful.
To all of those who have volunteered with us and many other local nonprofits, we express our heartfelt thanks, this month and all year long!