Happy National Volunteer Week! This is the week when we run all over the place, schlepping plates of sandwiches and rasperry tea, blowing up balloons and enlisting our friends and family to come in late so we can tape streamers in the lobby. It is a week of colorful posters spouting inspiration at our volunteers.
And so it is customary to revisit all the great quotes on volunteering and service. Here are 3 of my favorites:
“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” …J.R.R. Tolkien
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”…Anne Frank
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” …Albert Einstein
But! For every leader of volunteers, Volunteer Appreciation week is also a week filled with stress and running shoes and getting your cruise director personna on so that not one volunteer is left out of the festivities. It is hair on fire time when the sandwich ring isn’t ready or the posters start peeling off the walls or the staff is called into a last minute meeting and the volunteers are sipping coffee with just you to thank them.
So, here are 3 of my favorite quotes for you:
“If you had to identify in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved and never will achieve its full potential, that word would be meetings.” …Dave Barry
“Large corporations welcome innovation and individualism in the same way the dinosaurs welcomed large meteors.” …Dilbert
and finally, a quote that I like to put on the bottom of my emails…
“Always drink upstream from the herd.” …Will Rogers
Try not to stress too much over this week. Remind yourself that the volunteers know how hard you work and how much you show your appreciation for them throughout the other 51 weeks this year. It’s continuous appreciation that resonates with them over a once a year luncheon or a hallway filled with balloons.
I’ll leave you with this:
“The only thing that ever sat its way to success was a hen.” …Sarah Brown
I love this post and our national Volunteers Week is 1-7 June every year. I used to stress about doing something for my local groups to encourage them to recognise their volunteers, but realised that actually they shouldn’t stress if they can’t. As you say so long as they value their volunteers the other 51 weeks of the year and celebrate the difference they make, why stress about it?
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I wholeheartedly agree. From my experiences, I was always stressed, not because I thought the volunteers didn’t feel appreciated all year round, but I think more because “eyes” were on me from staff and administration. As a visualization, volunteer appreciation week became the symbolic confirmation that we were appreciating volunteers. The volunteers knew it, administration had to see it, therefore stresssssssssssssss.
I get this completely as I have a stream of stressed volunteer managers at this time of year too, saying I need to do something different – the boss wants bigger and better on no budget this year etc. Volunteers know they are appreciated but the management want to make it official lol 🙂
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