Every year between the 1st and 7th June, Volunteers Week takes place.
Charitable work couldn’t exist without the contribution of volunteers to charities, charitable organisations and community initiatives across the UK. Volunteers Week takes the opportunity to recognise the vital contribution that these volunteers make and the impact they have.
Did you know…
- Most people, at some point in their lives, have formally volunteered in some way
- Almost 1 in 5 people surveyed reported that they volunteered at least once per month (that’s 9.2 million people!)
- During 2020/21, 16.3 million people volunteered through a group, club or organisation
- During 2020/21, 54% of the population volunteered informally at least once per year and 33% volunteered informally at least once per month (this sort of volunteering includes things like unpaid help for someone who is not a relative)
We’d hazard a guess that most people have volunteered to help people informally – Particularly helping out neighbours during the pandemic with shopping and other tasks that may have become difficult.
This helpful side of human nature lends itself well to more formal ways of volunteering, helping others in a range of ways.
What is Volunteers Week?
Both large household name charities and smaller organisations celebrate and support Volunteers Week, running hundreds of activities across the country. These activities aim to celebrate these volunteers and showcase the work that they do through their contribution to their communities.
There are so many different ways to be a volunteer, and Volunteers Week aims to highlight all the diverse ways volunteers can come together and evoke change.
During Volunteers Week, hundreds of online and live events take place to thank and celebrate all the people that volunteer.
Why is Volunteers Week Important?
At the heart of every community and charitable endeavour are hardworking, dedicated volunteers who deserve to be celebrated. The hope is that this celebration will encourage even more people to become volunteers in some way and quite literally become the change that everyone so desperately wants to see.
Volunteers are vital for the charitable sector – Their efforts are so important, for their own charitable cause as well as the voluntary sector as a whole.
It’s not just the charitable causes that benefit though – The volunteers get something from it too!
Helping others as a volunteer has been shown to improve the wellbeing of the volunteer themselves! After we help someone, we tend to feel good – It’s part of human nature. Brain science has shown us that theories of giving have been found to activate our brains pleasure centres and philanthropic psychology shows us that empathy induced altruism helps motivate us to give. This can stand for giving our time and volunteering too.
Not only does volunteering make us feel good, but it also provides an opportunity to gain new skills and experience which could be valuable for continuing professional development. Plus, it can also be a great confidence boost!
Volunteering really is win-win for all those involved.
Do You Celebrate Volunteers Week?
Many charities across the UK don’t just use Volunteers Week as an opportunity to celebrate and thank their donors, but also to recruit new volunteers!
This week would be the perfect chance to hold volunteer recruitment events where potential new volunteers could see just how much volunteering is recognised and celebrated by your charitable organisation.
Volunteers play an enormous role in our communities. Who wouldn’t want to join in?
If you’re reading this as a potential volunteer rather than a charity, you can find out more information on how to get started over on the volunteersweek.org website. They also have plenty of volunteering stories to get you feeling inspired and ready to go!