Response Updates

International Volunteer Day: A Global Day of Selflessness

Reported by Convoy of Hope

International Volunteer Day (IVD) is a significant global observance that celebrates the contributions of volunteers and promotes their invaluable work toward economic and social development.

On this day, volunteers, organizations, and communities come together to recognize the positive impact made by people who selflessly dedicate their time and skills to make the world a better place.

In this article, we will explore:

Volunteers distribute relief supplies in Marianna, Florida.
Convoy of Hope Volunteers distribute relief supplies in Marianna, Florida, after Hurricane Michael in 2018.

What Is International Volunteer Day?

International Volunteer Day, often referred to as IVD, is an international observance established by the U.N. General Assembly in 1985.

It is celebrated annually on December 5 and serves as a platform to promote volunteerism as a powerful means to achieve economic and social development globally.

The day highlights the crucial role of volunteers in addressing various societal challenges and contributing to the fulfillment of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These SDGs are a comprehensive framework aimed at addressing global challenges and achieving a more sustainable and equitable future for all. International Volunteer Day plays a vital role in this endeavor by highlighting the contributions of volunteers toward SDGs.

Volunteers actively participate in various sectors, such as:

  • • Poverty alleviation.
  • • Education.
  • • Health care.
  • • Environmental conservation.
  • • Gender equality.

All directly support the targets outlined within the SDGs.

The History of International Volunteer Day

The roots of International Volunteer Day trace back to the U.N.’s recognition of the importance of volunteerism in development efforts. The U.N. General Assembly, through its Resolution 40/212, acknowledged the need to support and encourage volunteer work.

This resolution led to the establishment of IVD, which aims to recognize volunteer contributions, enhance public awareness, and inspire more people to engage in volunteer activities.

When Is International Volunteer Day?

International Volunteer Day 2023 will be celebrated worldwide on December 5. This date was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the U.N. General Assembly’s resolution on volunteerism.

On this day, individuals, agencies, government authorities, and the private sector join forces to honor volunteers and raise awareness about their significant impact on society.

How to Celebrate International Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day provides an excellent opportunity for individuals, organizations, communities, and nongovernmental organizations to celebrate the efforts of volunteers and create a positive impact in their communities.

Here are some meaningful ways to participate.

Volunteer Your Time

Dedicate a few hours or a whole day to volunteer for a cause that resonates with you. Whether it’s assisting a local charity, helping the environment, or supporting vulnerable groups, your efforts can make a real difference.

Join or Support a Volunteer Organization

Research and connect with volunteer organizations in your area that align with your interests. Consider donating funds or resources to support their work and ongoing projects.

Convoy of Hope Logo

As just one example, Convoy of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization where it’s easy to identify an opportunity for volunteer service. Local volunteers at Convoy of Hope’s World Distribution Center pack resources for distribution in the U.S. and around the world.

When Convoy sends a team to a community impacted by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado, local volunteers are a big component of that response. Hundreds, even thousands, of volunteers come together to serve Guests of Honor when Convoy of Hope organizes a community distribution of groceries, school supplies, children’s shoes, and other resources.

Promote Volunteerism on Social Media

Use your online presence to raise awareness about International Volunteer Day. Share stories, photos, and inspiring quotes related to volunteerism and the positive impact volunteers have on society.

Research your favorite volunteer organizations and promote their work online for others to see and join.

Recognize Volunteers

Take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the volunteers in your life. Express your gratitude to friends, family members, or colleagues who contribute their time and skills to make a difference.

A simple thank you can go a long way in recognizing their efforts.

Engage in Sustainable Projects

Embrace the principles of sustainable development by participating in environmentally friendly initiatives. Plant trees, organize cleanup drives, or support sustainable agriculture projects to contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

Next Steps

International Volunteer Day serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact volunteers have on economic and social development worldwide, which is why so many organizations focus on International Volunteer Day for economic and social development.

By recognizing and celebrating their efforts, we encourage more individuals to engage in volunteerism — creating a ripple effect of positive change.

Let’s join hands on December 5, embrace the spirit of International Volunteer Day, and work together to build a more inclusive, just, and sustainable world for all.


The demands of helping people are real and Convoy of Hope founder @HalDonaldson can speak to that first-hand. Swipe to see what other leaders have to say about “What Really Matters”. 👉 Make sure to enter the @goodreads giveaway at to win a free copy! 📚