Governor's Volunteer Awards

Nomination forms for 2016 will be available early next year.  ALL nominations must be submitted through and approved by an official Governor's Volunteer Awards coordinator.  Find your coordinator here

We invite you to join our e-mail list to make sure you receive updates about the program and ceremonies.

Program Overview

The Governor's Volunteer Awards (GVA) program was created in 1982, with inaugural awards presented in 1983. The program has grown from a small program only available to state agencies to its present function of providing all Iowa nonprofit, charitable, and government organizations with a "non-competitive" *, easy, and low-cost way to honor local volunteers with a prestigious state-level recognition award.

The program is coordinated by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, which is responsible for planning, development, and improvement of the awards nomination process, guidelines, and procedures.

Volunteers may be selected for an award in one of several categories: Individual; Group; Disaster Volunteer; or Length of Service. Each summer, regional award presentation ceremonies are held across the state to recognize hundreds of volunteers for their commitment, service, and time. SPECIAL NOTE: except for Disaster Volunteer and Length of Service Awards, people or groups honored previously should NOT be nominated again. If duplicates are discovered, the nomination may be rejected and the person suggesting the nomination will be notified.

There is a small handling fee for each nomination form submitted, which helps cover the cost of printing certificates, invitations, and ceremony materials, as well as memento photos, pins, and postage.

Recipients do not necessarily need to live in Iowa, but their service must have benefited Iowans or an Iowa organization. Award recipient criteria include an individual or group who has:

  • demonstrated exceptional commitment to volunteerism by helping with a special project or ongoing activities
  • demonstrated exemplary leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in their service to others
  • made an outstanding contribution to state or community through volunteer service

To help select your "Super Star" volunteer(s) for a Governor's Volunteer Award, think about their contribution to the agency/organization. What were the benefits of the nominee's efforts? What makes the accomplishments of this nominee more significant than those of other volunteers? How many hours were contributed by the volunteer to the agency/organization?

Special Notes:

  • Even though Governor's Volunteer Awards are "non-competitive" *, to ensure the handling fee is charged to the appropriate agency, ALL nominations must be submitted through and approved by an official Governor's Volunteer Awards coordinator. Nominations not submitted through the appropriate agency coordinator will not be honored. Each agency may set additional guidelines and restrictions, so please contact your organization's designated coordinator to request appropriate nomination materials.
  • To ensure you get periodic announcements about the Governor's Volunteer Awards program (including when nomination forms are available and when recognition ceremonies will be held) please send an e-mail to and ask to be added to our electronic news list.

*Non-competitive means the person completing the nomination form is actually notifying the state that they have determined the individual or group listed is deserving of this honor. Other than the awards coordinator verifying that the nominee has not received a regular Governor's Volunteer Award in the past, there is no further review process at the state level to decide who does or does not get an award. However, the Governor's Office reserves the right to refuse to bestow an award if it is deemed inappropriate.