This is National Volunteer Week, a week for recognition of volunteers in America. I wasn’t going to say anything about it because I don’t believe volunteers do what they do for rewards and I have a bunch of ideas for blogs that I need to get written before summer comes. But then I found out about some cool programs for volunteers that you, my readers, might be interested in knowing about.
The first is from the Points of Light Institute. Through Sunday, they have a contest for volunteers to tell their stories for the chance to win a cruise to Alaska. Called Celebrating People in Action, it’s a wonderful way to share a volunteering story and win a prize for a fabulous volunteer, either yourself or someone you know.
With L’Oreal Paris, Points of Light is also sponsoring the Women of Worth program, giving $10,000 to ten female honorees to donate to their charity of choice. All honorees will go to New York City in December to be recognized and one will receive an additional $25,000 grant.
Points of Light also organizes a national conference on volunteering and service known as the Turning Point Conference. This year Kevin Bacon, J.R. Martinez and Barbara Bush are all speaking at the conference which goes June 18 through 20 and will be held in Chicago.
For the younger volunteers, there are the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in early May (May 7 this year). Every year, the top high school and middle level youth volunteers in each state and the District of Columbia are selected as State Honourees. Each receives a $1,000 award, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for several days of national recognition events. In addition, two to 10 runners-up in each state are named Distinguished Finalists and receive a bronze medallion.
From among the state honourees, 10 national honourees are chosen to receive an additional award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their schools or organizations, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a non-profit, charitable organization of their choice.
But the thing that got me thinking about doing this blog at all is an app I just discovered called Reward Volunteers. It’s a free app that lets you track the time you spend volunteering so you can earn rewards for yourself and the organizations you serve. It runs from February 14 to July 7, 2012. You use the iPhone app or a web widget to log volunteer time and get friends involved by sharing on Facebook or by email.
The more volunteer hours you log, Facebook “likes” and comments and emails you get, the more chances you have to win prizes like gift certificates, snowboards and even vacation trips. On July 7, 2012, five nonprofit organizations will also be selected to receive $3,000 each.
So, although volunteering is a reward in itself because it makes you healthier and happier, here are a few ways that volunteers can get other kinds of rewards they may not be thinking about but that they’ll surely enjoy.