Recognizing the value of volunteers

Benefits of volunteering for the volunteer and the organization.

Volunteers smiling
Bloom Where You’re Planted, a 4-H program in Lenawee County, would not be possible without all the teen and adult volunteers. Pictured are Courtney Fry and Hanna Kane. Photo by Janelle Stewart, MSU Extension.

Michigan State University Extension adult and teen 4-H volunteers were amongst millions of volunteers recognized for their contributions during National Volunteer Week April 7–13, 2019. National Volunteer Week is about recognizing the work of volunteers nationwide who give their time, talent and energy to improve the quality of life for others.

Volunteers are a tremendous resource, especially if it is looked at in the terms of hours given and the value of that time. According to Independent Sector, the value of volunteer time in Michigan is $23.91 per hour. According to Volunteering In America, 2.33 million people in Michigan volunteer their time for a total of 185.9 million hours of volunteer time. With volunteer services worth an estimated $4.4 billion.

Volunteers are frequently identified as the backbone of many service-oriented organization. The Michigan 4-H Youth Development program is no exception. With over 15,000 volunteers across the state contributing to the success and expansion of the 4-H Youth Development program, volunteers are very much an intricate part of Michigan 4-H.

In addition to the services volunteers provide for the 4-H youth development program, there are numerous benefits. Overall, program quality is improved and strengthened through volunteer involvement. Volunteers bring unique perspectives and diversity to programs. The passion, support and involvement that they give are some of the volunteer’s most valuable contributions.

Volunteers also benefit from their efforts. Volunteers develop greater self-confidence and expand their leadership abilities. In many instances, employers see the volunteer’s experience as a valuable asset in the work environment. Volunteers are provided with opportunities to share skills or knowledge with others. Through these experiences, volunteers often gain satisfaction and experience from working with others.

Through the support of over 15,000 adult and teen volunteers, the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program carries out the mission to create an informal educational opportunity to help youth thrive in a complex and changing world. To learn more about how you can volunteer with the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Program, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office.

Even though the National Volunteer Week has passed for this year, organizations should be recognizing and appreciating volunteers all year long. It is an excellent resource to assist volunteer managers with recognizing the hard work, dedication and commitment that volunteers offer organizations.

“Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless,” Anonymous.

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