This weekend – the weekend of December 5, 2020 – the world is coming together to celebrate a very special group of people: volunteers. Volunteers come from all walks of life and different socio-economic, cultural, political, and societal backgrounds to do one thing – to take action in their communities. They are of all genders, races, educational levels, and passions. They unite and transform advocacy into action to make the world a better place. Through a multitude of nonprofits, governments, grass-root movements and individual action, they provide an essential ingredient to the operation of our societies.
Global volunteering snapshot
According to the 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism report published by the United Nations Volunteers, the full-time equivalency of volunteers add up to about 109 million people. About 70% of them volunteer informally, connecting directly to their neighborhoods to take action and not through formal organization. The same report outline and emphasize on something we already know: local volunteerism builds community resiliency.
The week of December 5, 2020 – celebrating volunteers
International Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
So this weekend, together with the United Nations Volunteers and our other strategic alliances that promote volunteerism, we say thank you to volunteers around the world.
COVID-19 changed the landscape, but it didn’t affect the momentum
COVID-19 posed a great deal of challenges to volunteer activities around the world. While nonprofits and communities scrambled to provide support, it got harder for local volunteers to connect and find projects nearby. As restrictions got tighter for human interactions, it was also impossible to volunteer in-person. But we persisted. Volunteers around the world elevated their momentum during the pandemic by volunteering online, reaching out to their communities, donating expertise, and volunteering in a physically distanced way. When humanity was challenged, volunteers stepped up to answer their call.
What is more exciting is that even through a pandemic, this year, we connected more volunteers than ever before. In 2020, we connected over 2,000 volunteers to volunteer projects and activities in their communities.
How can you become a volunteer and advocate in your community?
It all starts with your first volunteer project. If you have never volunteered before, take some time to find volunteer projects on our database or sign-up to do some good on your birthday. You can also sign-up for our newsletter to know what is going on in the world of volunteering.
You can also join the Volunteering Knowledge Portal discussion online, on how you and your community can expand, strengthen, and accelerate the impact of volunteer through new technologies and supportive policy.