04/11/2014 03:40 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

Top 3 Reasons Why Volunteers Are Special

This is the 40th Anniversary of National Volunteer Week -- a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. I have been actively volunteering for the last seven years and in that time, I had the honor to work with many outstanding volunteers in Jolkona and outside.

Why are volunteers so special? Here are my top three reasons:

  1. Volunteers give us the memories we cherish. Our favorite meals were probably cooked by family members or friends who volunteered their time. Memorable events like the Olympics and the World Cup are possible because of volunteers. One of my favorite Jolkona memories is a fashion show fundraiser put on by a team of 20-plus volunteers working tirelessly for over 2 months.
  2. Volunteers demonstrate unconditional passion. Many of us are passionate about our jobs -- regular salaries and benefits provide great incentives to do a good job at our workplace. Volunteers give up their time without any salary and the only benefit they get is personal satisfaction. This kind of commitment is very pure and can do wonders for an organization. At Jolkona, we are lucky to have volunteers who have been with us for more than 5 years.
  3. Great volunteers provide organizational backbone. Jolkona volunteers play a critical role in our long-term success. In the non-profit sector it is very difficult to retain talent over the long term. Committed volunteers can help fill the gap by carrying the institutional knowledge, maintaining its momentum, building on previous success, and managing on new initiatives.

Volunteers are more than just temporary labor. They are essential for all nonprofits. As nonprofit leaders, we should recognize these team members and take time out this week to thank them for their efforts.

This article is dedicated to Nancy and Chi -- Jolkona's 2013 Volunteers of the Year. Thank you for all you have been doing for Jolkona over the past few years. I am honored to call you a team mate.