Awareness Calendar: Volunteering in 2020
Research shows helping others also helps us.
Posted Jan 01, 2020
“A life lived for others is the only life worth living.” —Albert Einstein
Another year has come and gone and it’s time to ring in 2020 with a heart of giving. The new year has many dates devoted to raising awareness on a variety of worthy issues.
Volunteering is a great way to start the 2020 year. Not only does volunteering help others, but it is a rewarding experience for the person who gives as well. Time and time again, researchers have shown that the act of volunteering has been positively linked to mental and physical wellbeing, life satisfaction, improved social well-being, and less depression. When we help others, it makes us happy, and the more we give, the happier we feel! Our kindness becomes contagious and impacts others, inspiring us to engage in more charitable acts.
Aside from making us feel good, the existence of charitable organizations depends on people giving their resources and time. Sadly, there are not enough paid staff to address the vast needs globally, nationally, nor locally. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, most charitable nonprofit organizations are run by board members and volunteers. Due to the tight budgets and lack of workers, these organizations would cease to exist without volunteers.
Fortunately, people are stepping up and allocating resources and time, but there are more needs to be met. Data collected by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) shows that 30% of Americans gave resources and or time to an organization last year. Collectively, people reported volunteering nearly 6.9 billion hours of their time, an estimated worth of $167 billion in economic value. The report also found that millions of Americans are supporting friends and family (43%) and doing favors for their neighbors (51%), which suggests we are willing to lend a helping hand to those close to us.
If you want to make a difference in 2020, please consider volunteering. Check below for a list of months, weeks and days (content organized in that order) devoted to bringing awareness to a worthy cause. Volunteering is a wonderful way to help someone as well as yourself. So, check out the dates below and make a difference in 2020!
“The essence of life is to serve others and do good.” –Aristotle
Quick fact: Most volunteer activity involves the collection and distribution of food.
- National Mentoring Month
- National Blood Donor Month
- Birth Defects Prevention Month
No Name-Calling Week
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - #WearBlueDay
Quick fact: Volunteers donate to charity at twice the rate as non-volunteers. Nearly 80% of volunteers donated to charity, compared to 40% of non-volunteers (CNCS).
- Black History Month
- Career and Technical Education Month
- International Boost Self-Esteem Month
- National Cancer Prevention Month
- Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
National Freedom Day
World Cancer Day
Random Acts of Kindness Day
Quick fact: Volunteers engage in their communities at higher rates than non-volunteers (CNCS).
- American National Nutrition Month
- Brain Injury Awareness Month
- National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
- Women's History Month
National Sleep Awareness Week
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
March 30 - April 3
National Youth Violence Prevention Week
International Women's Day
World Sleep Day
Kick Butts Day (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)
World Down Syndrome Day
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
World Water Day
American Diabetes Association Alert Day
Purple Day for Epilepsy
Quick fact: Parents volunteer at rates nearly 48% higher than non-parents (CNCS).
- Alcohol Awareness Month
- Autism Awareness Month
- Child Abuse Prevention Month
- The Month of the Military Child
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) Alcohol Awareness Month
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) Awareness Month
- STDAwareness Month
- Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
- Stress Awareness Month
- Youth Sports Safety Month
National Volunteer Week
National Infertility Awareness Week
World Autism Awareness Day
Sexual Assault Awareness Day
World Health Day
International FND (Functional Neurological Disorder) Awareness Day
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
Day of Silence
Denim Day (to support healing services and violence prevention programming)
Quick fact: According to a report from the University of Maryland's Do Good Institute, the percentage of Americans who contribute time and money to charities is at its lowest point in two decades.
- Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
- Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
- Global Youth Traffic Safety Month
- Huntington's Disease Awareness Month
- Mental Health Month
- Military Appreciation Month
- National Foster Care Month
- National Mobility Awareness Month
- Physical Fitness and Sports Month
- Skin Cancer Awareness Month
- Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
National Women's Health Week
National Prevention Week by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
National Missing Children’s Day
World No Tobacco Day
Quick fact: According to Statista, the U.S. ranks number five in the top 10 countries ranked by the share of their population that volunteered for charity between 2009 and 2018.
- LGBT Pride Month
- Men's Health Month
- National Safety Month
- PTSD Awareness Month
National Men's Health Week
National Cancer Survivors Day
Tourettes Awareness Day
PTSD Awareness Day
Quick Fact: In 1736, Benjamin Franklin founded The Union Fire Company, the first volunteer firehouse.
- Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
- National Minority Mental Health Month
World Day against Trafficking in Persons
Quick fact: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Generation X (born between 1965 to 1980), compared to all other generations, volunteer most often.
- Children's Eye Health and Safety Month
- Immunization Awareness Month
- National Breastfeeding Awareness Month
Women’s Equality Day
International Overdose Awareness Day
Quick fact: According to a Harvard article volunteering at least once a week yields improvements to well-being equivalent to your annual salary doubling.
- Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
- Children’s Good Manners Month
- Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month
- Hunger Action Month
- Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month
- National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
- National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15)
- National Preparedness Month
- National Recovery Month
- Sickle Cell Awareness Month
National Suicide Prevention Week
Child Passenger Safety Week
International Literacy Day
World Suicide Prevention Day
National School Backpack Awareness Day
World Heart Day
Quick fact: According to Statista, Americans volunteer an average of 137 hours per year.
- ADHD Awareness Month
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Bullying Prevention Month
- Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- Down Syndrome Awareness Month
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
- Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month
Mental Illness Awareness Week
National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW)
Red Ribbon Week (Drug-Free America)
International Day of Non-Violence
World Teachers’ Day
National Depression Screening Day
World Mental Health Day
World Arthritis Day
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
World Food Day
Quick fact: According to Engaging Volunteers, volunteers are most active in March, April, and November.
- Adoption Awareness Month
- National Career Development Month
- National Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (CRPS) Awareness Month
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
World Kindness Day
Great American Smokeout
National Parental Involvement Day
National Adoption Day
International Survivors of Suicide Day
Native American Heritage Day
Quick fact: According to the Independent Sector, volunteer service is estimated at $25.43, an increase of 3% from the previous year.
- National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
- Safe Toys and Celebrations Month
World AIDS Day
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Human Rights Day
In conclusion, the above information highlights essential organizations and events that need our attention. Simply, America needs more volunteers. Just think of what a difference we could make globally, nationally, or locally if we gave our resources and or time to a worthy cause this year.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” –Maya Angelou
Disclaimer: I may have unintentionally missed some important dates, or they may not have been posted at the time this article was written. If you have a particular month, week, or day to note, please feel free to add your cause/event in the comment section. Thank you!
Yeung, J. W., Zhang, Z., & Kim, T. Y. (2018). Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms. BMC public health, 18(1), 1-8. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4561-8.