Useful tips and ideas for Volunteers' Week and the Big Help Out

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Created by Debbie Ambrose
Last updated a month ago

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03 April 2024 at 12:41pm


Focused discussions held on 6th and 12th March 2024

If you are a volunteer lead and are looking for ideas to celebrate Volunteer’s Week and make the most out of the Big Help Out, here are some useful tips and ideas from Helpforce Network members to help you get started.

Key dates:

Volunteers’ Week will be celebrated between the 3rd and the 9th of June.

The Big Help Out will take place over the weekend 7th – 9th June

Preparation tips

  • Communicate and include as many people as you can as early as you can to what your plans are.
  • Get regular meetings in diaries as early as possible to keep everyone up to date with the plans.

Promoting your service

Through your contacts

  • Work with your Communications team to get the most out of promoting your service.
  • Use internal Comms to promote what your volunteers have achieved over the last year to staff (e.g.: A TV screen with rolling photos of the activity's volunteers have been involved with throughout the year, using the noticeboard in a foyer or hub with photos and inspirational quotes.)
  • Link in with your local radio station.
  • Join forces with other voluntary organisations and take part in a local event. It’s a great way to create awareness and network with other organisations. Often local radio will cover these festivals, encouraging people to come along and increasing awareness of your volunteers.

Through social media

  • Create daily spotlight videos on a volunteer role.
  • Individual volunteer stories - “A Day in the life of...”
  • Group volunteer stories.
  • Create videos of staff and senior leadership thanking the volunteers. If they do not wish to speak ask them to hold cards and banners.
  • Staff stories if they started out as a volunteer and/or maybe still volunteer.

Celebrating with your volunteers


  • If you do a monthly newsletter or bulletin, dedicate the June issue to Volunteers’ Week. Include statistics to show them how much of a difference they all make.

Personal Thank You to volunteer ideas

  • Thank you, postcards/cards. Handwritten is more personal.
  • Thank you emails.

Small Gifts

  • Many volunteers do not want organisations to spend money on gifts for them. However, often small useful as well as sustainable items are appreciated. If you have little or no budget for gifts talk to local businesses to see if they would be willing to donate small, but useful items.
  • Badges
  • Thank you, key rings
  • Certificates
  • Tea Bag
  • Pens
  • Small plants, seedlings or seeds

Activity ideas

Many volunteers value the social side of volunteering. Some organisations are spread out over a large area so tend to do small individual events whereas others in higher populated areas are able to hold larger gatherings. Whatever your situation, ask your volunteers what they would like to do and be creative with the type of venue you use. To find venues for little or no cost look around you for local beauty spots or a local business that has cafe facilities.

Some activity ideas that you can do with your volunteers:

  • Picnics (weather permitting).
  • Visit to a local arboretum.
  • Walk and Talk.
  • Tea and Cake drop-ins.
  • Fun Day (indoor or outdoor) with games.
  • Ask a speaker to come and give a talk. For example, a talk on gardening with a small plant gift for everyone to take home with their new knowledge.
  • Turn a training day into an event. Ask CEO’s and Trustees to come in to do a talk and meet the volunteers.
  • Taster sessions for volunteers in an area they are not familiar with. This can also encourage dormant volunteers to become active again.
  • Link up with another organisation to put on an event. One organisation links up with a children’s charity once a year to put on a recruitment event.

The challenges of putting on social events

Online events.

  • These do not appear to be as popular as they used to be with many volunteers now preferring the more sociable aspect of face-to-face events.
  • A lot of volunteers are now still of working age or students so they have other commitments and may not be able to attend events at certain times. To gauge how many volunteers would be interested in attending an event and their availability do a Poll. Link to Doodle Poll

Volunteer Awards

  • Sponsorship from local businesses can go towards providing food and certificates.
  • Invite the sponsors to the event so that they can also meet the volunteers.
  • Invite the sponsors to choose and present a category winner.
  • Ask senior staff and local dignitaries to present awards.

Corporate volunteering and The Big Help Out

A number of organisation are being approached by businesses offering corporate volunteers for one-off events. These can be anything from clean-up events to fundraising and the volunteers are often available during the week and not just weekends. These events can be great for publicity and well as being great fun.

Organising these can be time-consuming, so one organisation now has a page set up on their website with details of their up-and-coming events so that businesses can put themselves forward for a particular event. Challenges and Events at Lewis-Manning Hospice Care

You can find more tips, links and ideas from previous conversations on Volunteers’ Week in the Forum Library under Reward, Recognition and Volunteers' Week.

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03 April 2024 at 1:54pm


Make sure you also visit the Volunteers' Week website for all communications materials that can help you to promote the campaign

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