22 November 2005
by Nan Hawthorne
The latest Independent Sector study on Giving and Volunteering in the United States indicates that 84 million adults volunteered with a formal organization in 2000. These 15.5 billion hours (which doesn't even include anybody under 21 years of age!) represent the equivalent of over 9 million full-time employees at a value of $239 billion. The average annual financial donation of households with volunteers was US$2,295, as opposed to US$1,009 from households that did not volunteer.
But did you ever stop to wonder how volunteers actually accomplish so much? As someone recently pointed out to me, we sometimes have the perception that volunteers and volunteerism just happen. They don't. Someone needs to manage them, and the programs in which they participate.
Monday, 5 December 5 2005, is the 6th Annual International Volunteer Program Manager Appreciation Day. And before you start thinking you don't know anyone that fits this category, stop for a second. Many companies have them, as do local churches, community centers, government agencies, libraries, and other civic and non-profit organizations. Yes, it's most likely a paid position in many instances, but the impact of the work done by this particular profession cannot be measured on a scale of numbers or salary. Take a minute next Monday, and let that person know that you recognize them for their efforts.