This Saturday December 5 is International Volunteer Day. Marked each year around the world since its inception in 1985, it was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to celebrate volunteerism in all its facets. In 2015, International Volunteer Day pays special tribute to volunteers working to implement the new global goals, which aim to achieve three things in the next 15 years: end extreme poverty; fight in inequality and injustice and fix climate change.
A day to say thanks
International Volunteer Day is an opportunity for not-for-profit and charitable organisations to promote their invaluable contributions and those of their volunteers –of which there are some six million in Australia alone – towards bettering local, national and international communities.
“Volunteers are the soul of OzHarvest,” says Lisa Dainty, volunteer and corporate engagement manager at food charity rescue organisation Oz Harvest, on the immeasurable value of volunteers. “They not only give their time, but also their passion, energy, smiles, good humour and friendship in all that they do. They are part of our family,”
International Volunteer Day is a way to say thanks. Many organisations will be hosting events on the day to highlight the role of volunteers and celebrate their contributions. Though Dainty notes this should be ongoing, not just on one day a year: “It’s important to recognise the contribution that volunteers provide not just on one day of the year, but on every day! By embracing volunteers as part of the team on a daily basis, it recognises their value and contribution.“
“Of course, it is also important to treat our volunteers throughout the year, and at OzHarvest we do this by hosting an annual Volunteer Thank You Party, as well as involving them in special milestones and events,” says Dainty. “Recently we had the opportunity to invite some of our long term volunteers to meet with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall at our HQ!”
A call to action
Do you volunteer? Or does your business or workplace offer staff volunteering opportunities? International Volunteer Day is a way to reflect on how you may be able to give time or services back to the community – while saying say thanks to those who do.
How will you be marking International Volunteers Day this year?
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