Volunteerism timeline

From the time it appeared as a noun in the 1600s to describe a Frenchman willing to serve in the military, the idea of volunteering has taken many forms through the centuries. Here’s a look back at the history of community service.

2015

Ford Motor Company announced Chairman’s Sustainability Challenge, Ford Volunteer Corps’ Global Week of Caring expanded from one week to full month, Ford Better World launched

2013

United Nations Youth Volunteers Programme launched; Habitat for Humanity 800,000th house, Atlanta

2012

FEMA Corps launched

2011

China Volunteers Association launched; Habitat for Humanity’s 500,000 house, Maai Mahui, Kenya

2009

United Nations Volunteers programme, Armenia Ministry of Labour, Social Issues form Youth Vocational Centre

2009

United Way of America, United Way International become United Way Worldwide

2007

International Federation starts global accident insurance for National Society volunteers; International Volunteer HQ, travel organization, launched in New Zealand

2006

European Volunteer Centre launches Manifesto on Volunteering in Europe; Micro-volunteering, microvolunteering used in UK blog post on mySociety; microvoluntarios registered web domain name in Spain, working online platform 2008

2005

Asia Pacific volunteer development function based in Luala Lumpur; Ford Volunteer Corps launched

2004

South American Volunteer Network established

2003

President’s Volunteer Service Award created

2001 - 03

Africa volunteer development function based in Nairobi; United Nations proclaims 2001 International Year of the Volunteer

1999

Federation Volunteering Policy adopted by General Assembly; The Points of Light Foundation partners with White House Office of National Service

1998

Nevada Board of Tourism coins voluntourism to attract local residents to support remote rural tourism development; Japan’s NPO Law permits legal certification, incorporation of certain volunteer organizations as non-profit organizations

1995

Kobe Earthquake catalyst for volunteering in Japan

1994

Japanese International Cooperation Agency sponsored Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteer in Vietnam

1991

The Points of Light Foundation’s Youth Outreach program develops Youth Engaged in Service Ambassadors, engaging Youth in community service, Points of Light Foundation merges with the National Volunteer Center

1990

Points of Light Foundation creates independent, nonprofit organization to encourage and empower spirit of service; volunteer tourism research begins, expanding in the late 90’s and early ‘00s; United Nations Volunteers has representative office in Vietnam

1989

United Nations Volunteers begin in Afghanistan; President H.W. Bush develops three-part strategy to make community services a national policy of highest priority, yields Points of Light Foundation; daily Points of Light Award established; Volunteer Center Development Project proposed by the National Volunteer Center, funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation

1987

New York City starts CityCares, young professionals involved in volunteer opportunities, became Hands on Network in 2004

1986

Of 380 existing Volunteer Centers, 226 are members of the National Volunteer Center; 115 are internal divisions of United Way; 90 percent of all other Centers receive a portion of funding from United Way; 70 percent are independent; 20 percent operate as divisions or programs of a local United Way

1983

More than 25 different names for Volunteer Centers used across the country, 380 Volunteer Centers in 94 of 100 largest metropolitan areas, together, they reach roughly 60 percent of the American population, referring or placing and estimated 500,000 volunteers per year. Volunteer Centers meet in 20 states on a regular basis. International Volunteer Centers are also expanding rapidly, including 84 in Canada, 290 in Great Britain, 200 in Holland, 35 in France and Centers in Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. 125 Volunteer Centers attend the annual National Conference. 150 Volunteer Centers are involved in special national demonstration projects, involving national grants from private foundations or government agencies

1982

Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers founded in Ballarat, Victoria

1980

Voluntary Service Overseas shifts to professional approach with qualified volunteers for two year stints

1979

The Association for Administration of Volunteer Services changes its name to the Association for Volunteer Administration; The National Center for Voluntary Action merges with National Information Center on Volunteerism in Boulder, Colo., to become Volunteer: The National Center for Citizen Involvement.

1977

Jimmy Carter establishes the Young Adult Conservation Corps. The Association of Voluntary Action Scholars and Association of Volunteer Bureaus hold the first collaborative conference. AAVS, ABV join AVAS as co-publishers of Volunteer Administration, forerunner of the Journal of Volunteer Administration.

1976

National Center for Voluntary Action sponsors national Congress on Volunteerism and Citizenship in recognition of Bicentennial of the United States.

1975

AAVSC changes name to Association for Administration of Volunteer Services.

1974

National Volunteer Week in April established by President Richard Nixon executive order.

1972

United Nations Volunteers programme began in Lesotho.

1971

Earthwatch Institute implements paid-for volunteering placement.

1970

National Center for Voluntary Action established from OVA survey, Henry Ford II chairs the first board of directors, President Nixon honorary chair; NCVA launches major nationwide program to foster development of Voluntary Action Centers, as local leadership organizations to help people meet local needs through voluntary efforts; The Volunteer Bureau changes to Voluntary Action Center nationally

1969

Cabinet Committee of Voluntary Action formed, led by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, George Romney. The committee’s service arm, The Office of Voluntary Action conducts nationwide study of volunteer resources and potential. Conclusion: national, non-governmental structure needed for volunteering. By decade’s end state-level offices emerged with Washington establishing first Governor’s Office of Volunteerism; Michigan, Illinois follow soon after.

1965

Michigan Governor George Romney meets with Michigan State University Jim Tanck Campus Program, sees volunteering potential.

1964

Volunteers in Service to America to fight poverty. the Job Corps, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, College Work Study Program.

1961

Peace Corps The Minneapolis Bureau of Volunteer Service hosts convention of the National Association of Volunteer Bureaus.

1960

The American Association for Volunteer Services Coordinators formed.

1958

VSO created by Alec Dickson, wife Mora, suggesting organization to support Commonwealth countries’ urgent appeals for assistance while providing educational experiences for school-level boys, offering unskilled help in exchange for basic accommodation, pocket money the year before university.

1953

International Voluntary Services - Mennonite, Brethren, Quaker churches (dissolved 2002).

1951

Australian Volunteers International, originally Volunteer Graduate Scheme, founded by Herb Feith in Indonesia. Skilled professionals work with partners in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, Middle East.

1951

National Association of Volunteer Bureaus formed, creating network of volunteer bureaus, offers training in volunteer management, develops standards of excellence for volunteer programs and promotes volunteering in local communities, first national meeting of Volunteer Bureaus held in Atlantic City.

1950

Far North Viet Nam 215 youth founded a volunteer organization, main purpose to serve army

1950

Volunteer Bureaus in 81 cities across U.S., Canada

1945

Office of Civilian Defense disbanded. The Advisory Committee on Citizen Participation is formed by Community Chests and Councils of America with National Social Welfare Assembly

1945

August Revolution in Viet Nam, a nationwide revolutionary movement named “anti-famine, anti-illiteracy, and anti-foreign conflicts”

1943

>4,300 civil defense volunteer offices operate nationwide to recruit volunteers for defense-related activities

1941

Office of Civilian Defense formed to organize civilian support for World War II efforts. National Committee on Volunteers suspends operations due to World War II. Defense Councils combines with Volunteer Bureaus in 50 cities to help organize, recruit, train volunteers for wartime programs, including Rationing, Recruiting Offices, USO, Hostesses, War Emergency, Nursery Schools and War Savings.

1934

"March of the Volunteers" lyrics composed by Tian Han, formally known as the National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China. Originally translated as “Volunteers Marching On” the English name references the several volunteer armies that opposed Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in the 1930s

1933

Civilian Conservation Corps created by Franklin D. Roosevelt to plant about 3 billion trees, employing millions of young males

1932

National Committee on Volunteers formed, year later becomes associate group of the National Conference of Social Work. Volunteer Bureaus created in 28 cities, including St. Louis, Boston, Indianapolis by end of decade

1930s

Volunteer-based activities, including soup kitchens and bread lines, created during Great Depression

1928

Community Chest established in Cape Town, South Africa was first United Way outside North America.

1919

First Bureau of Volunteer Services in Minneapolis, Minn.

1918

Association of Junior Leagues International formed by American Association for Community Organizations, preceded national United Way

1917

Native Americans, tho not U.S. citizens, volunteer for WW I

1916

Kiwanis (Club) International, Lions Clubs (Club) International founded

1910

Rotary (Club) International founded

1909

British Red Cross creates Voluntary Air Detachment in Europe, Middle East World War I battlefields

1851

Volunteers of America founded by Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth, part of quasi-military, religious, philanthropic group

1895

First Jewish federation founded, Boston

1889

Johnstown Flood

1887

First United Way organization founded, Denver

1881

American Red Cross founded. Clara Barton and a team of volunteers provide aid to servicemen.

1861 - 65

Ladies’ Aid Societies of Civil War make bandages, shirts, towels, bedclothes, uniforms, tents.

1858

YWCA started in U.S.

1857

YMCA started in London, university-based YMCA at University of Michigan

1851

First YMCA started in U.S.

1830s

Great Awakening students in a variety of religious groups work within community

1775 - 83

Boycotts of British products organized in United States by Revolutionary War volunteers, who collected funds for war

1755

First use as a verb. from noun volunteer

1736

Benjamin Franklin gets about 30 males forms Union Fire Company in Philadelphia, they brought their own equipment to each fire

1640s

Used as an adjective

1630s

First non-military use

1600

First appearance as a noun, "one who offers himself for military service" from Middle French voluntaire