How National Volunteer Week Works

National Volunteer Week Ideas

Looking for an opportunity to feed your longstanding fascination with the movie, "Grease"?

How about hosting a 1950s-themed "Volunteers Rock!" luncheon? You can dress up in '50s style clothing, blast Chuck Berry on a jukebox and send a few roller skaters around to serve trays of bazooka bubble gum and red licorice. That's what North County Lifeline Inc., a nonprofit that serves troubled youth in San Diego, did [source: Energize Inc].

Or you could do your best impersonation of Alex Trebek and host a game of "Jeopardy," quizzing volunteers on trivia related to the work of your charity. And don't underestimate the power of crazy hats. One nonprofit called its volunteer recognition party "Hats off to You" and had all the staff wear outrageous hats [source: Energize Inc].

Another charity used an Olympic theme, calling its event "Volunteers Are Gold." In a room decorated in red, white and blue, staff members greeted volunteers and placed gold medals around the their necks.

If you're interested in something a little more low-key, you can sponsor an essay contest in which the clients you serve write essays describing what their mentors mean to them. You can post the essays on your Web site and award prizes to the top three [source: Energize Inc].

No matter how you celebrate, remember to start your planning early -- at least a few months in advance. You may want to invite a celebrity or other dignitary that could draw media coverage. And don't forget to smile for the photographer you hired to chronicle the event.

For more on National Volunteer Week, see the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Volunteering in the United States, 2008." United States Department of Labor. (Accessed 6/1/09)
  • Corporation for National & Community Service. "Resource Center: Tools and Training for Volunteer Service Programs." (Accessed 5/20/09)
  • Energize Inc. "National Volunteer Week Ideas." (Accessed 5/20/09)
  • Foundation Center. "National Volunteer Week, April 19-25." (Accessed 5/20/09)
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. "Outreach Suggestions." (Accessed 5/20/09)
  • Points of Light Institute. "About Us." (Accessed 5/20/09)
  • Points of Light Institute. "Programs." (Accessed 5/20/09)
  • The American Presidency Project. "Richard Nixon: Proclamation 4288 - National Volunteer Week, 1974." (Accessed 5/20/09)