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National Volunteers Month – December 2023

National Volunteer Month takes place in December annually in the Philippines. Volunteerism and charity work are central to Filipino culture and tradition. The Philippines is renowned for its hospitality and generosity. You’ll see this in their government’s approach to helping the people. Corporates, non-profits, and academic institutions also play a role in National Volunteer Month, giving back to society and the economy for the nation’s good. Volunteerism is the spirit of ‘Bayanihan,’ the national tradition of building up one’s family, local community, and in the end, the whole society without expecting anything in return. Filipinos take great pride in it.

History of National Volunteers Month

National Volunteer Month began in 1998. The Philippine government declared that December would be the month when citizens observe this holiday. National Volunteer Month highlights the value of volunteer work in community development, social services, peacebuilding, humanitarian aid, and technical support. The contributions made by individuals, communities, and public and private institutions are recognized and celebrated as essential to nation-building efforts. Throughout December, citizens are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities such as the Bayanihang Bayan Program (B.B.P.) or Volunteer Program for Government Service. For generations, the spirit of Bayanihan, or mutual assistance, has been a part of the Philippines.

Filipinos from all walks of life practice Bayanihan daily, but this custom of volunteerism is at its peak in December. The private sector and government partner up to implement development projects and welfare initiatives, raise awareness of government programs, and facilitate private individuals or groups with volunteer opportunities in the government. Volunteers offer their unique technical or professional skills. Others provide resources such as funding, materials, time, and attention. Interest-based volunteers focus on activities and projects that align with their interests, like environmental restoration, feeding programs, and volunteer services like working in local fire brigades. This extensive network of public and private allies across multiple levels makes volunteer work in the Philippines victorious and significant.

The youth are a big part of National Volunteer Month. All citizens aged 15 to 18 years participate in non-hazardous volunteer activities. Many citizens return to the country from overseas to partake in National Volunteer Month, along with retirees and mid-level professionals from various occupations. The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (P.N.V.S.C.A.), created in 1964, coordinates all volunteerism efforts between private and public stakeholders.

National Volunteers Month timeline

The First Volunteer Firehouse

Benjamin Franklin starts the Union Fire Company, the first all-volunteer firehouse in the world.

The Founding of the Red Cross

In Geneva, Switzerland, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement emerges.

The Salvation Army

Catherine and William Booth form the Salvation Army, one of the most prominent volunteer organizations in the U.S.

The Lions Club is Founded

Chicago business leader Melvin Jones starts Lions Club International.

National Volunteers Month FAQs

What is the purpose of National Volunteer Month?

National Volunteer Month recognizes the importance of volunteer work and its impact when people dedicate their skills and resources to a noble cause.

How do you celebrate National Volunteer Month?

Some ideas to celebrate National Volunteers Month are serving meals at a homeless shelter, planning a company service event, and collecting supplies for food, clothing, or book drives.

Why is volunteerism encouraged in the Philippines?

The time-honored tradition of ‘Bayanihan’ among the Filipinos fosters social justice, sustainable development, and solidarity, representing the spirit of volunteerism.

How to Observe National Volunteers Month

  1. Take care of your environment

    Roll up your sleeves, grab a trash bag, and clean up your environment on National Volunteers Month. Recycle the waste in your community to make it healthier and more pleasant. You don't need much to get the job done, and it's a task you can perform anywhere, anytime. You can also plant trees and flowers this month.

  2. Work with children and youths

    Volunteer at a nursery or an orphanage. Tutor teens at an after-school program. Organize a sports tournament for at-risk youths. When you mentor children, you're teaching them the value of volunteering.

  3. Donate to a worthy cause

    Donations don't always have to come in the form of cash. You can donate used items like toys, clothes, books, furniture, video games, backpacks, and school supplies.

5 Facts About Volunteerism

  1. Volunteering expands your skillset

    Whether you're coordinating a fundraising drive, cooking meals for the hungry, or teaching children in a foreign country a new language, volunteerism teaches you unique, valuable skills that carry over to other fields.

  2. Most volunteers work on their own

    Around 70% of volunteer work is informal, done by ordinary people pooling their resources to help vulnerable members of their communities.

  3. Volunteer work is therapeutic

    Research by Cambridge University shows that volunteerism is beneficial to people with severe mental health issues; it was so effective that researchers encouraged volunteer work as part of recovery-oriented services at mental health organizations.

  4. Volunteer work boosts your C.V.

    People who volunteer regularly have a 27% higher chance of getting employed, and 60% of hiring managers see a history of volunteer work as a valuable asset to potential employers.

  5. Volunteering is good for your health

    Volunteering reduces the risk of developing hypertension by 40%, and people who volunteer over 100 hours a year are some of the healthiest in the U.S.

Why National Volunteers Month is Important

  1. Connecting with others

    Volunteer work allows you to connect with communities and boosts your social skills. It helps you interact and meet new people if you feel lonely or isolated. You can make new friends and build connections while helping others. The bonds formed during volunteer work act as a support base and social circle.

  2. A sense of purpose and fulfillment

    Shaping your community or positively helping others makes you feel proud and accomplished. It's also a confidence booster when you see what you're capable of and how your actions can improve the lives of others. People who regularly do volunteer work live happier and more fulfilled lives.

  3. Volunteering is good for your health

    Volunteer work is beneficial to your physical and mental health. Regular volunteers show a 63% lower mortality rate, and because a lot of volunteer work often involves physical activity, they're at lower risk of developing lifestyle diseases. The work helps reduce stress and lights up those reward centers in your brain when you've succeeded in your efforts.

National Volunteers Month dates

2023December 1Friday
2024December 1Sunday
2025December 1Monday
2026December 1Tuesday
2027December 1Wednesday

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