Celebrating Those That Give Back – International Volunteer Day 2018

The work of volunteers has touched everyone’s life, one way or another, and International Volunteer Day on the 5th December is here to make sure you realise it. International Volunteer Day (IVD) is here to highlight the invaluable contributions and achievements of volunteers to society and to the individual lives of those they help.


The crucial work of volunteers occurs in every sector of society, everyday – from befriending and mentoring on a personal basis, teaching and supporting learning, to administrative office work at local and national organisations and stewarding local and national events, to name just a few. Whether you know it or not, an event you’ve attended, a place you’ve visited or a person you know has been supported by the charitable work of volunteers who give up their time and energy to put something back into a community or organisation.

From April 2012 to April 2013 it was reported that 29% of adults in England volunteered once a month, and 44% volunteered once a year. In numbers, this translates to approximately 31 million adults having carried out some volunteer work in England alone. That’s about 60% of the total population at the time.

IVD exists thanks to the United Nations who established the day in 1985. They say this about it on their website:

“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.”

This year’s theme is volunteers build resilient communities, which the UN website explains is a celebration in particular of efforts of volunteers that “strengthen local ownership and the resilience of local communities in the fact of natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks”.

Around the world, people celebrating IVD will take part in rallies, parades, blood donations and group clean ups, exhibitions, volunteer fairs, fundraising and volunteer recognition events.

What is it about volunteering that enticed 60% of England in 2012-13? The benefits of volunteering are numerous, for both volunteer and others around them alike. Everyone volunteers for different reasons, but whatever the reason, ultimately there’s always something positive to gain from volunteering. Some reasons include:

  • Making a difference for the better to someone’s life, be it directly or indirectly
  • Helping the lives of the vulnerable and giving a voice to those who might otherwise go unheard
  • Gaining and developing skills, experience, knowledge and interest
  • Improving self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Feeling valued by a team and community
  • Socialising, meeting new people and making friends
  • Enhancing your CV and employability prospects


When volunteering, the more you give, the more you get. To find out more about volunteering opportunities in Leeds visit doinggoodleeds.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer.


Georgie Wardall