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International Volunteer Day: 10 Ways You Can Participate

05/12/2014

“International Volunteer Day is a chance to thank the many individuals who act with this spirit of giving, and to encourage others to follow their example. When an earthquake destroys homes, volunteers prove that human solidarity is shatterproof…” UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

International Volunteer Day: 10 Ways You Can Participate

International Volunteer Day: 10 Ways You Can Participate

This year’s theme,“Make Change Happen,Volunteer!”, emphasizes how volunteerism can advance sustainable development by fostering participation, building social cohesion, and promoting dialogue within communities. Volunteerism also acts as a catalyst for civic engagement and social inclusion. Helen Clark, Senior Administrator, UNDP

What is IVD 2014? Today is International Volunteer Day (IVD) and it is the perfect time to applaud the efforts of all those people; ordinary folks like you and me, 6,300 UN Volunteers, and the 11,000 UN Online Volunteers who sacrifice time, money, skills and energy to help their fellow men and women. If you volunteer locally in your community or elsewhere, this is the day to give yourself a special pat on the back and to start thinking of how to get more people involved in doing the work. Quite often, people want to help and don’t know how to participate or celebrate the efforts of those who make time to volunteer.

This year’s theme for IVD is “Make Change Happen,Volunteer!” and it is the perfect call to action for all of us. If you belong to that category of compassionate people who’d like to help but need some motivation or ways to help, here are 10 suggestions to the question: How can I participate in volunteer work or celebrate the efforts of volunteers in my area?

International Volunteer Day: 10 Ways You Can Participate

International Volunteer Day: 10 Ways You Can Participate

You can create/collaborate/participate in a variety of organized activities such as:
(1) You can help organize a march or rally to bring attention to those in need in your area. You can also organize a group to collaborate with/visit marginalized communities to offer some assistance. Habitat For Humanity goes to poor areas to hep build homes so this is another way to help.

(2) You can join a clean up crew to beautify your neighborhood and plant a food garden or flowers. If your area has suffered an attack by looters (like in Ferguson after the verdict) and personal property is at risk or destroyed, volunteers can come together to rebuild and safeguard community treasures. You can also participate in helping people to lift themselves out of poverty by providing them with information on available resources and alerting social services to help those who feel too down to ask.

(3) You can arrange a friendly competitive event with neighbors or neighboring towns. It could include a Sports event, a cultural food festival and even a creative exhibition of local street artists, photographers, kids drawings, and personal stories.

(4) You can also help organize a Volunteer Fair, a health fair or a blood drive in your community. The Ebola crisis has been a lesson to all of us of the power of brave volunteerism; doctors, healthcare workers and nurses risk their lives daily to work with the sick. They deserve recognition. The great thing about organizing a fair that is so specific, is that organizations that need volunteers will gladly join in to share information and get people to register to help. At the same time, people can be invited to make a donation to causes which would help too because some people can’t volunteer or don’t have time to do so.

(5) Social media is a powerful force to reckon with these days, and it is a great and direct way to connect with others and get them involved. You can participate in an online volunteers drive to coordinate an IVD Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram event. We are familiar with Tweetathons that engage online volunteers through the use of shared hashtags and re-tweets on the same day. As bloggers, our various blogging platforms; WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and many others are also great channels for sharing information and raising awareness. What tips can you recommend to help others to participate in building a strong volunteer community?

More below

“The humane impulse to assist and empower others that motivates volunteers rebounds back to them in the form of an enriched life. Volunteers offer life skills while expanding their own know-how; they empower communities while earning a sense of personal fulfilment at having made a difference in our world.” When looters aim for cultural property, volunteers safeguard community treasures. When development is lagging, volunteers help enable people to lift themselves out of poverty.”UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

International Volunteer Day: 10 Ways You Can Participate

International Volunteer Day: 10 Ways You Can Participate

This year’s International Volunteer Day takes on special significance as the United Nations prepares to shape a new vision for sustainable development and a new universal climate agreement, both to be adopted next year. I thank the more than 6,300 UN Volunteers and 11,000 UN Online Volunteers who helped millions of people to make change happen by giving them a voice in sustainable development and peace efforts across the globe.UN Sec General Mr. Ban Ki-moon

(6) One thing we sometimes forget is to celebrate the efforts of our volunteers. You can organize a celebratory event to acknowledge the devotion of local people, by handing out certificates and Awards to people in your area. There are many ways to celebrate them and with some creativity, much can be achieved.

(7) There are many organizations that would be happy to participate in a forum discussion, an interview, or a showcase of their work. Pick one of you favorite organizations to talk about their experience with offline/online volunteering.

(8)Fundraising for a local volunteer organization is always appreciated and very easy to do. A few phone calls will open many door to groups that would appreciate the fundraising help; you could help with mailing, phone calls, creative graphic designs or hands-on help. You could even create a special announcement for IVD.

(9) As bloggers, we write about a wide range of subjects; You can feature stories from local volunteers or from volunteers in countries who have supported initiatives in your area.

(10) One very important way to help, especially if you have the skills, is to offer Workshops about volunteer activities, how to write and make Speeches, conduct interviews or connect with and recruit new and old volunteers

We all know the psychic/intrinsic rewards we receive when we help people in need. We also know that everyone isn’t able to help. Some have health issues or major time constraints. Nevertheless, we can all chip in and help in ways that work best for each of us. I’ve provided some recommended ways to help and added a few more of my own. What else would you suggest to people who wish to learn more and participate in building a strong volunteer group in their community? You can start small by volunteering, learning the ropes, and then spreading your wings. Happy Holidays!

This post was inspired by Daily Prompt. Weekly Writing Challenge: COUNTDOWN Everybody loves (or at least loves to hate) a list. This is especially true around the end of the year, when our inclination to rank things and to build coherent narratives out of the chaos of loosely related events goes into overdrive. I look forward to reading your posts in 10, 9, 8, 7…

For More: Women’s Lives & Issues 

Positive Motivation Tip: Find time to build a bucket list of things you can do to help others. You’ll be the richer for it. Happy Holidays!

More Wellness Boosters/Affirmations & Resources

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos : via Volunteer Action Counts.org

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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39 Comments leave one →
  1. Masshole Mommy permalink
    05/12/2014 3:25 pm

    I had no idea there was such a day. I love this idea!

    Like

  2. 05/12/2014 3:32 pm

    I had no idea today was international volunteer day. Glad to have seen this!

    Like

  3. 05/12/2014 3:38 pm

    I did not know this day existed like that.. i will take some of this into account and see what i can do.

    Like

  4. kourtnee permalink
    05/12/2014 3:41 pm

    I love helping others! Makes me so happy to see a smile on other people’s faces

    Like

  5. Michele D permalink
    05/12/2014 3:43 pm

    Sounds like a great way to volunteer. Thanks for your ideas!

    Like

  6. Stacie (@a49erfangirl) permalink
    05/12/2014 4:12 pm

    It is a great feeling to volunteer. You have a very nice list of ideas for volunteering as well.

    Like

  7. 05/12/2014 6:08 pm

    It’s amazing how social media can enable lots of activities from the online world to the physical one. Everyone can get involved and act as a volunteer.

    Like

  8. Liz Mays permalink
    05/12/2014 7:48 pm

    These are really thoughtful ways to make a difference. My daughter works for a charity, so I often get inspired by things she does as well.

    Like

  9. Carly Anderson (@lipglosscrayons) permalink
    05/12/2014 8:38 pm

    I had no idea there was an International Volunteer Day. I think it is so important to volunteer – I love to give back to y community.

    Like

  10. Tonya C permalink
    05/12/2014 8:52 pm

    Love this. Thanks for reminding us that we can all do our part to make the world a better place.

    Like

  11. Michelle Hwee permalink
    05/12/2014 9:17 pm

    Great volunteer ideas! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  12. Olfa Turki permalink
    05/12/2014 9:55 pm

    Volunteering is so great, I have done it myself multiple times!

    Like

  13. 05/12/2014 11:12 pm

    My town has a very busy volunteer bureau where they match volunteers to placements and in the past I’ve done an awful lot of volunteering which I found very rewarding. This is a great post and its sure to make people think, well done my dear.
    have a lovely weekend 🙂

    Like

  14. Fi Ní Neachtáin permalink
    06/12/2014 2:08 am

    I’m so glad to read that there’s a day like this internationally. So many great ways people can help out and volunteer.

    Like

  15. 06/12/2014 4:44 am

    10 is a short number to what the big picture is.. I will try and get some of these ideas in as the season is about giving..

    Like

  16. Ben Butler permalink
    06/12/2014 8:27 am

    I love this! I had no idea there was an international volunteer day. Awesome.

    Like

  17. 06/12/2014 8:44 am

    Great post, I will definitely suggest this to friends and family. You can count me in!

    Like

  18. Annemarie LeBlanc permalink
    06/12/2014 9:02 am

    I love volunteer work, I have done lots in my life!

    Like

  19. 06/12/2014 2:21 pm

    Social media really is becoming powerful. It’s really nice when we can help in such an easy way as clicking a button on a Facebook or Twitter page.

    Like

  20. Rebecca Swenor permalink
    06/12/2014 2:35 pm

    This is an awesome post indeed. I didn’t know there was a International Volunteer day. I will have to share this. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  21. Ann Bacciaglia permalink
    06/12/2014 5:25 pm

    This is a great way to encourage people to volunteer. We volunteer at out local food bank and the animal shelter.

    Like

  22. 06/12/2014 7:47 pm

    This is the first time that I’ve heard of International Volunteer Day. I like your suggestions on how to celebrate. As a blogger, we do have a lot of opportunities to spread the word regarding a lot of important causes and issues.

    Like

  23. 06/12/2014 7:52 pm

    I haven’t heard of this year but that is amazing though. Thanks for sharing about it.

    Like

  24. 06/12/2014 10:01 pm

    This is my first time hearing about International Volunteer Day. Thanks for sharing!

    HilLesha

    Like

  25. 07/12/2014 4:30 am

    This is the first time I’ve heard about this day, but I think it encourages and promotes people to have the initiative to help by volunteering. I like the idea of the volunteer fair, it’s something new to me.

    Like

  26. Melissa Smith permalink
    07/12/2014 8:38 am

    I had no idea that there was an International Volunteer Day! But now that I do know, I’ll definitely be doing my part.

    Like

  27. 07/12/2014 10:28 am

    It’s so easy to get stuck in our own routines that we forget to volunteer, but there are so many organizations that need our help! School and church are two that are easy to get involved with, but there’s also just helping out a friend or neighbour with whatever they need.

    Like

  28. 07/12/2014 1:22 pm

    I had no idea that such a day existed. I’ll have to do something for this next year.

    Like

  29. debbiejeancrochet permalink
    07/12/2014 6:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing all of these great ideas! I hadn’t thought of using social media as away to advocate different charities for volunteering!

    Like

  30. mrenkema79 permalink
    07/12/2014 6:58 pm

    Great post! It’s always good to volunteer, and also to recognize those that help out!

    Like

  31. 08/12/2014 7:18 am

    Great ways to make a difference. My son was a volunteer bell ringer over the weekend. So proud of him. 🙂

    Like

  32. 08/12/2014 1:33 pm

    I used to work a nonprofit and volunteers were the key to our success! They were invaluable.

    Like

  33. 08/12/2014 8:35 pm

    Love that you shared this! Thank you! We are currently doing a RACK project… Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.

    Like

  34. Kate H. permalink
    10/12/2014 10:23 am

    I like to volunteer for community events. I also volunteer with the performing arts as a way to share and keep the arts in our culture.

    Like

  35. Jennifer Hiles permalink
    11/12/2014 11:18 am

    So many great ideas to get involved. I think #3 sounds really fun. I would love participate in a creative exhibition of local street artists, photographers, etc. I hadn’t known there was an IVD day until now.

    Like

  36. 15/01/2015 5:28 pm

    Great idea you have here .. thanks for sharing

    Like

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