This week is National Volunteer Week, a week when volunteerism is promoted. Volunteering is a great way to get involved with a cause that is important to you. In today’s tight economy, sometimes the only way the public can give back is by giving their time. Volunteering is a rewarding experience for the volunteer and the organization. I’ve been volunteering with the same organization, Attachment Parenting International (API), for almost seven years now, and I love it.

One thing that I love about National Volunteer Week is that businesses also focus on the importance of volunteering by sponsoring events and encouraging employees to get out and donate their time. Here are a few examples of what companies are doing to support volunteerism this year.

Do Good Get Rewards – If you’re planning to start a new volunteer position, make sure that you sign up with Do Good Get Rewards. Volunteers or nonprofits can register on the site for free. Volunteers log their time on the site, the nonprofit validates these hours and volunteers earn points. The points can be redeemed for a variety of products including vacations, hotels and restaurant gift certificates.

Starbucks – Starbucks is focusing on volunteering for the month of April, declaring it the Global Month of Service. Starbucks held activities in London and Los Angeles last week and events in Toronto, New York, Shanghai and Seattle are scheduled for later this month. Starbucks is encouraging its employees and customers to get involved with a community service project. The company’s goal is to be involved with 2,000 projects for a total of 200,000 volunteer hours during the month.

AT&T – In 2008, AT&T launched the AT&T/JA Worldwide Job Shadow Initiative. The five-year, $5.5 million project will allow students in grades 9-12 to shadow an AT&T employee. The goal of the program is to reduce high school dropout rates. Thousands of AT&T employees in cities across the world have volunteered for the program.

If you’d like to get your company involved in the week’s activities but aren’t sure where to start, read Twelve Tips for Planning an Employee Volunteer Event from the HandsOn Blog. HandsOn is the organization behind National Volunteer Week.

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