Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

SatApr 20

Volunteer Recognition Day – April 20, 2024

Volunteer Recognition Day is observed every year on April 20. As the name suggests, it is a day to honor, recognize and celebrate the selfless individuals who volunteer their time and energy to help others and promote good causes. Volunteers do all this without expecting compensation or appreciation for their efforts and this is what is so inspiring. Volunteers can be found in all sectors, community kitchens, hospitals, retirement homes, or war zones. Their selfless sacrifice deserves applause from the rest of the world.

History of Volunteer Recognition Day

As the name suggests, Volunteer Recognition Day is a day to recognize, honor, and celebrate people who selflessly volunteer their time, energy, and resources towards helping others without seeking any compensation for themselves. A volunteer has been defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as — “a person who does something, especially helping other people, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it.” The act of volunteering is perhaps as old as humanity itself — or close. People have been offering to help and assist others in times of need for eons.

However, the word ‘volunteering’ made its first appearance during the 1630s but only came into full use in 1755. Then, it was construed in a military sense, referring to people who volunteered to join the army. Indeed, the origin of organized volunteering can be traced directly to wartime. Women would volunteer to nurse wounded soldiers on the battlefield, while others would put all their efforts into making uniforms for them. One of the foremost volunteering organizations of all time, the Red Cross, was also founded in response to war. Henry Dunant, who had witnessed injured soldiers being left without adequate medical support in the Battle of Solferino, couldn’t help but take up the matter. He wrote down his ideas in a book called “A Souvenir of Solferino,” which advocated that every army should be made to care for wounded soldiers, regardless of what side they were fighting for.

Ever since, volunteering takes different shapes and forms and transcends various industries. People volunteer to visit old people, some work on weekends at community kitchens, while others travel to foreign lands to help the needy. Volunteering is a noble, worthy act that should be carried out by all of us.

Volunteer Recognition Day timeline

The Red Cross is Founded

The Red Cross movement is founded by Henry Dunant.

17th Century
The Term ‘Volunteering’ is First Used

The word ‘volunteering’ comes into use.

The Red Cross Lands in the U.S.

The Red Cross is brought to the U.S. by Clara Barton.

The Y.M.C.A is Founded

Sir George Williams founds the first Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A) in London.

Volunteer Recognition Day FAQs

When was Henry Dunant born?

Henry Dunant was born on May 8, 1828.

Where is the headquarters of the Red Cross?

The headquarters of the Red Cross is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Who is the president of the Red Cross?

The current president of the International Committee of the Red Cross is Peter Maurer.

How to Observe Volunteer Recognition Day

  1. Appreciate a volunteer

    Do you know someone who’s selflessly volunteered for a good cause? Take this opportunity to celebrate them by acknowledging their hard work and appreciating them.

  2. Become a volunteer

    The lifeblood of most charitable organizations is the selfless work of volunteers. So take time out to volunteer your services for a cause that’s dear to your heart.

  3. Use the hashtag

    Celebrate by posting something insightful about Volunteer Recognition Day online. Use the hashtag #volunteerrecognitionday.

5 Organizations That Rely On Volunteers

  1. The Red Cross

    With over 14 million volunteers all over the world, voluntary service is one of the fundamental principles of the Red Cross.

  2. The Peace Corps

    The Peace Corps provides volunteering opportunities in the fields of agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth in development.

  3. The United Nations

    The United Nations volunteer program has over 9,400 volunteers deployed worldwide and still has room for more.

  4. Amnesty International

    Amnesty International opens the door for volunteers across all their global offices to provide their services in a wide range of activities.

  5. Global Volunteers

    Volunteers are given the opportunity to volunteer within the U.S. or volunteer abroad in Vietnam, Cook Islands, Tanzania, St. Lucia, Portugal, Poland, Nepal, Peru, Italy, Greece, Ecuador, Cuba, and China.

Why Volunteer Recognition Day is Important

  1. We get to honor hardworking volunteers

    Volunteers do their work without recognition or accolades. Volunteer Recognition Day provides a rare opportunity to celebrate these tireless superheroes and recognize their impactful work.

  2. It promotes volunteering

    This day also throws a challenge to everyone, daring all of us to leave our comfort zones. It highlights how vital volunteering is to our society and encourages more people to become volunteers.

  3. It commemorates past volunteer heroes

    This day commemorates the heroic volunteers, whose loving and courageous acts have helped change our world. We’re reminded of their sacrifice and challenged to follow in their footsteps.

Volunteer Recognition Day dates

2024April 20Saturday
2025April 20Sunday
2026April 20Monday
2027April 20Tuesday
2028April 20Thursday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.