Volunteer Iowa is pleased to offer a variety of ways to recognize Iowa volunteers, nonprofits, and National Service members for the amazing work they do. We rely on the assistance of the general public and our Commissioners to inform us about the individuals who should be recognized, to help us showcase a dedicated volunteer, organization, or National Service participant. Some recognition activities are more frequent, and some are yearly.
- Excellence in Mentoring Awards - established in 2009, this annual recognition gives Iowa MENTOR certified programs the opportunity to recognize outstanding long-time youth mentors. Individuals selected have served as a mentor a minimum of two years and exemplify both the spirit and positive benefits of mentoring. Nomination forms are released in the fall and may only be submitted by a representative of an Iowa MENTOR certified youth mentoring program.
- Governor’s Volunteer Awards - launched in 1982, this program provides a non-competitive, easy, and low-cost way to honor local volunteers with state-level recognition. State agencies, nonprofits, charitable organizations, and non-state government entities (city, county, and federal offices operating in Iowa) may recommend an individual volunteer or group of volunteers who directly assisted the organization with a project, event, or activity for a Governor’s Volunteer Award. Nominations are accepted through an online form in March and April; awards are presented during regional recognition events held each summer.
- Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame - the most prestigious state-level honor volunteers can receive; the people selected have freely given their precious time and talent in countless ways to benefit others and have forever changed their community, the state, the nation, or the world. Nomination forms are released each fall and may be submitted by anyone familiar with the nominee's volunteer commitment and impact. Nominees must live or operate in Iowa: individuals, national service members, families, groups, organizations, nonprofits, businesses, or corporations may be nominated.
- Iowa Nonprofit Awards - recognize exceptional practices, achievements, and impact of nonprofit organizations and professionals, philanthropic organizations, national service and volunteer programs, and local collaborations for their efforts to address community challenges. Nomination forms are released in the summer and awards are presented in the fall during the biennial Iowa Nonprofit Summit.
Recognition Programs and Initiatives
- 50 Faces of Volunteers - Volunteer Iowa accepts nominations on an ongoing basis for this bi-weekly feature on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog, which spotlights a deserving volunteer who has volunteered 50 or more hours in the past year.
- Give Back Iowa Challenge - annual challenge (April 1-May 31) to engage Iowans in employer-supported volunteering. Participating employers are divided into three or four categories, depending on the number registered employers. Those with the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee in each category, are recognized with a visit to the workplace by Iowa's Governor and/or Lieutenant Governor.
- Monthly Mentor - a story featured on the Iowa MENTOR website, social media, newsletter, and the Volunteer Iowa blog. Monthly Mentors are selected from the success stories that Iowa MENTOR certified programs submit in their quarterly reports. Mentors are interviewed and asked for a photo of them with their mentee to put a face to the wonderful work they do and show the impact of mentoring.
- National Service Member Spotlight - National Service participants (AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors) are recognized through social media to highlight the great work they do to address local challenges and expand opportunities across the state. Eligible nominees have served at least three months in a National Service Program; are currently serving or completed their service within the past 90 days; have made significant contributions to address community issues; actively promote service within their community; and, are involved in volunteering outside their assigned service duties.
Additional volunteer recognition programs are listed at the end of our Miscellaneous Resources page.