International Volunteer DayHave you thanked a volunteer today? If not, it’s the perfect time to do so. This Thursday (Dec. 5) is International Volunteer Day – an observance that has been recognized since 1985 by the United Nations as way to show appreciation to those who give their time to organizations and causes that are dear to their hearts.

And you probably won’t have to work too hard to find someone to thank. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 64.5 million Americans gave their time to organizations between September 2011 and September 2012. That’s more than 25 percent of the United States population.

As a leading provider of furniture solutions to shelters, safe havens and other nonprofits that rely heavily on volunteers, Norix Furniture would like to thank those who selflessly give their time to help others.

Additionally, we would like to highlight 10 websites that help volunteers find opportunities and provide resources to those organizations that manage volunteer efforts. Some are well known. But we also have included a couple resources you might have missed.

We know there are many, many more websites and organizations out there that are helping the world become a better place. If you know of any other resources, please mention them in the comment section at the end of this blog post.

Volunteer Match – Find volunteer opportunities by categories such as education, children and animals or post opportunities if you are organization looking for volunteers.

United We Serve – President Obama’s nationwide service initiative “aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own ‘do-it-yourself’ projects.”

PAWS – This is a must-visit destination if you are interested in helping our fur-covered and feathered friends. PAWS lists many opportunities, including how to volunteer on location and how to start the process for fostering an animal.

Global Volunteers – “Somewhere in the world, a child needs your help. “ That is the first sentence on the Global Volunteers website, an organization that gives you the opportunity to “put your personal skills to work nurturing, teaching, feeding, planting, building, shaping, and often saving children.”

How to Find Retirement Volunteer Opportunities – This 2011 U.S. News & World Report article tells you how to volunteer and give back to your community after you have left the workforce.

Red Cross – This well-known organization always needs volunteers. And with good reason. The Red Cross works with 13 million volunteers in 187 countries and provides disaster relief, blood supply, and health and safety courses among other essential services around the world.

From – Are you in charge of your school’s PTO/PTA efforts and need help in retaining assistance from parents? Check out Great School’s “25 ways to catch and keep volunteers” which includes the five things that volunteers love and five things they hate.

Tech Soup – This website offers certifications, software and other resources for those who manage volunteers and volunteer efforts.

Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service – According to its website, “VAVS volunteers are a priceless asset to the Nation’s veterans and to the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Visit this website for opportunities to help those who have served.

Salvation Army – This organization provides disaster relief, hunger relief, homeless services, and prison ministries and combats human trafficking, among many other services. Any better organization to recognize for International Volunteer Day?

Dustin Coleman is a brand journalist for Norix Furniture and a contributor to the Safe Environments blog.