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National Volunteer Week is April 15-21: Celebrate and Encourage Volunteerism in Maine

by Molly O'Connell

Volunteers make an enormous impact in communities across Maine, and are an essential part of the nonprofit sector. In Maine,

  • over 350,000 people volunteer
  • volunteers donate 49.9 million hours($1.1 billion) of service (46.7 hours per resident per year – ranking Maine 4th among the 50 states and Washington, DC!)
  • 32.8% of residents volunteer – ranking Maine 16th among the 50 states and Washington, DC
  • Source: Corporation for National & Community Service

National Volunteer Week (April 15-21):

is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, in unison, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. National Volunteer Week is about taking action, encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change—discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation. (Source: Points of Light and Hands On Network)

National Volunteer Week can be a great focal point for re-energizing your nonprofit’s volunteer recruitment efforts, as well as an important time to recognize the service of volunteers and their impact on your mission. Global Youth Service Day also falls within National Volunteer Week (on April 20-22), providing a great opportunity for organizations to partner with young people to create local change, and to foster youth investment in your organization’s mission. Lincoln Middle School students and KIDS Consortium are challenging others to get involved.

There are a wide variety of organizations out there to support volunteers and volunteer managers during National Volunteer Week and throughout the year, including, but certainly not limited to:

  • MANP’s All About Volunteers page provides links to help nonprofits in Maine find, manage and retain volunteers.
  • Maine Commission for Community Service: Find news, grant opportunities, and publications to support volunteer managers. MCCS also coordinates the annual Blaine House Conference on Volunteerism, which takes place annually in October.
  • Serve.gov is President Obama’s initiative to encourage volunteerism. Post or find projects, find toolkits to help you organize a service event, and read or share stories for inspiration.
  • VolunteerMaine: Search for volunteer opportunties across the state by your location, your availability, what type of activity you want to do and the age/audience with which you want to work. Volunteer managers can post opportunities, request supplies, find peer networks, sign up for a monthly webinar series, and more.
  • Maine Commission for Community Service Volunteer Resource Center provides tools and training for volunteer and service programs. Find online training on topics such as
  • Volunteering in America: Find information on volunteering and civic engagement, including state by state statistics, data on trends, research, and tips & tools for both volunteers and volunteer managers.
  • Kids Consortium: Learn about how the service learning model creates change in schools and communities while providing powerful learning opportunities.
  • Maine Youth Action Network: Find resources, training, technical assistance and connections that empower young people to create change and support adults to partner effectively with youth.
  • Hands On Network is the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute.
  • MANP members seeking more in-depth support can access our Consultant Referral Program to get connected to people who specialize in volunteer management topics.

MANP is grateful for the volunteer support of over 50 volunteers, including board members, SkillBuilder presenters and in-office volunteers. The experiences and talents of these individuals enhance MANP’s ability to support nonprofits across the state. Many thanks from all of us on staff to all of them!

Not currently volunteering your time? This week is also a perfect opportunity for individuals to re-commit to finding ways to give back in their communities. There are plenty of resources above to help you find the perfect fit for you schedule and interests, but sometimes it takes some extra motivation and inspiration, so we’ll leave you with some, and please post comments to share your own favorites:

  • I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody. —Lily Tomlin
  • I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” —Albert Schweitzer
  • You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and to impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” — Woodrow Wilson
  • Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth. — Muhammad Ali

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