April is a very busy month. If you have seen the pinwheels at the Capitol, they were placed there by FESS (Family Education Support Services) as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM). There are flags in downtown Olympia to remind us.
April is also Earth Month. Timberland Regional Library is showcasing specific items in its collection this month. Most importantly, April is also Global Volunteer Month. While nonprofits should celebrate their volunteers all year, if you are currently an active volunteer, your dance card may be starting to fill up. When I was a young volunteer coordinator, we only celebrated National Volunteer Week (which still happens next week, April 16-22). This month-long celebration of volunteers stems from an effort led by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, to celebrate the impact of volunteers at every level. Volunteerism and civic engagement are essential in every community. They can help create equity, strengthen communities, improve lives as well as build bonds across races, cultures, belief backgrounds, and experiences.
AmeriCorps recently released the results of a 2021 survey about volunteering and civic engagement in America. The survey is done in partnership with the US Census Bureau every two years. The most recent survey looks at volunteering and civic behaviors between September 2020 and September 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research looks at national rates of organizational volunteering, helping others informally, charitable giving and more.
* 1,545,834 formal volunteers contributed 118.7 million hours of service through organizations worth an estimated $4.1 billion
* 25.0% of residents formally volunteered through organizations
* 97.5% of residents talked to or spent time with friends or family
* 55.3% of residents informally helped others by exchanging favors with their neighbors
* 70.6% of residents had a conversation or spent time with their neighbors
* 25.0% of residents belonged to an organization
* 55.1% of residents donated $25 or more to charity
Think you know everything about volunteerism? Then check out this quiz on volunteering from AARP. The results may surprise you!
During this month-long celebration, nonprofits usually focus more on recognizing their current volunteers than recruiting new people. However, with the change in the seasons, there are new openings, so here are a few to get you started.
The Tumwater Farmers Market is looking for volunteers for their market season, which runs every Sunday from June 12 – August 27. Two shifts are available, and volunteers may select their preferred time slot. Volunteer opportunities include assisting vendors with set up and tear down, music set up as well as assisting shoppers. High school students may receive their volunteer credits and all volunteers that volunteer for five or more market days will receive a Farmers Market T-shirt. For more information or to review open slots, click here.
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