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Community Volunteer Recognition: Award Opportunities and One Cool Contest

Polly Roach

What better way to recognize your amazing volunteers than to hold them up for public acclaim?  We’ve gathered some ways to share marvelous volunteer achievements with the world through awards large and small – most of them only take your time and ability to tell the story of what volunteers accomplish for your organization, your clients and your mission.


MAVA’s Awards for Excellence in Volunteerism celebrate those who demonstrate the impact volunteers can have through an outstanding commitment to volunteerism.  To celebrate volunteers making a difference at all ages, MAVA created three award categories:


Age 14 – 18    Outstanding High School Volunteer

Age 18 – 24    Outstanding Young Adult Volunteer

Age 25+       Outstanding Adult Volunteer


Applications open in September, with awards given out at MAVA’s Annual Meeting in November; check the MAVA website in the fall for nomination information.


Points of Light’s Daily Point of Light Award celebrates the power of the individual to spark change and improve the world – more than 6,000 winners of all ages have been recognized so far. To learn more about award criteria and nominate volunteers actively making a difference in their communities, visit the Points of Light website here.


WCCO Radio’s Good Neighbor Award has been part of the community for years and offer a great way to give your volunteers a shout-out for their good works. Good Neighbors are recognized three times a day every weekday on WCCO 830AM radio. To nominate a volunteer, fill out the form here.


The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program are United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The program honors middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level. Award applications are submitted by students; they are due in November, so the 2019 deadline has passed, but it’s not too early to let your youth volunteers know about this opportunity for national recognition – click here to learn more.

New opportunity for 2019! AARP’s Create the Good volunteer initiative is sponsoring a “Show Your Love Volunteer Contest” to honor exceptional volunteers; the grand prize is a week-long cruise for the winner and a guest, along with other outstanding community service volunteers. Nominate deserving volunteers online with a brief (500 words or less) essay by March 22nd; learn more and submit nominations here.