Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Awareness Calendar: Volunteering in 2020

Research shows helping others also helps us.

Matthew Jeacock/DepositPhotos
Source: Matthew Jeacock/DepositPhotos

“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

Yordan Zhivkov/Deposit Photos
Source: Yordan Zhivkov/Deposit Photos


Quick fact: Most volunteer activity involves the collection and distribution of food.

  • National Mentoring Month
  • National Blood Donor Month
  • Birth Defects Prevention Month

January 20-24

No Name-Calling Week

January 11

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - #WearBlueDay

January 20



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).

February 1

National Freedom Day

February 4

World Cancer Day

February 17

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Source: Boris Znaev/DepositPhotos
Source: Boris Znaev/DepositPhotos


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

March 1-7

National Sleep Awareness Week

March 2-8

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

March 30 - April 3

National Youth Violence Prevention Week

March 8

International Women's Day

March 13

World Sleep Day

March 18

Kick Butts Day (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)

March 21

World Down Syndrome Day

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 22

World Water Day

March 24

American Diabetes Association Alert Day

March 26

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

April 19-25

National Volunteer Week

National Infertility Awareness Week

April 2

World Autism Awareness Day

April 7

Sexual Assault Awareness Day

World Health Day

April 13

International FND (Functional Neurological Disorder) Awareness Day

April 23

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

April 24

Day of Silence

April 29

Denim Day (to support healing services and violence prevention programming)

Source: Gustavo Frazao/DepositPhotos
Source: Gustavo Frazao/DepositPhotos


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

May 10-16

National Women's Health Week

National Prevention Week by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

May 9

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

May 10

Mother's Day

May 20

National Missing Children’s Day

May 31

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

June 15-21

National Men's Health Week

June 7

National Cancer Survivors Day

Tourettes Awareness Day

June 21

Father's Day

June 27

PTSD Awareness Day

Ievgenii Skryzhak/Deposit Photos
Source: Ievgenii Skryzhak/Deposit Photos


Quick Fact: In 1736, Benjamin Franklin founded The Union Fire Company, the first volunteer firehouse.

  • Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
  • National Minority Mental Health Month

July 30

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

August 26

Women’s Equality Day

August 31

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

September 6-12

National Suicide Prevention Week

September 20-26

Child Passenger Safety Week

September 8

International Literacy Day

September 10

World Suicide Prevention Day

September 13

Grandparent’s Day

September 16

National School Backpack Awareness Day

September 29

World Heart Day

/Marek Uliasz/Deposit Photos
Source: /Marek Uliasz/Deposit Photos


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

October 4-10

Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 18-24

National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW)

October 23-31

Red Ribbon Week (Drug-Free America)

October 2

International Day of Non-Violence

October 5

World Teachers’ Day

October 8

National Depression Screening Day

October 10

World Mental Health Day

October 12

World Arthritis Day

October 15

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

October 16

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

November 14-22

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

November 11

Veteran's Day

November 13

World Kindness Day

November 19

Great American Smokeout

National Parental Involvement Day

November 21

National Adoption Day

International Survivors of Suicide Day

November 27

Native American Heritage Day

Anton Matyukha/Deposit Photos
Source: Anton Matyukha/Deposit Photos


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

December 1

World AIDS Day

December 3

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 10

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.

More from Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today
More from Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today