Governor's Volunteer Award seal


The Governor's Volunteer Award (GVA) program provides an easy way to honor the dedicated people who volunteer their time and talent to help an agency or organization deliver on its mission. There is no competitive selection process at the state level to decide who does or does not get an award; however, nominations are reviewed and approved by the participating state agency or Volunteer Iowa. By submitting the information, the person completing the form is verifying that the individual or group listed is deserving of this honor.

Nonprofits, charitable organizations, and government entities (city, county, state, and federal) 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. A small handling fee per award helps to cover the cost of printing certificates, postage for the invitations, mementos, ceremony materials and the online nomination system.

Guidelines (GVA Nominations Guidelines PDF Version)

Nominations may be submitted in the following categories:

  • Individual Governor’s Volunteer Award: one person providing outstanding volunteer service
  • Individual Length of Service Award: one person who has served multiple years. Awarded for increments of five years, e.g., 5, 10, 15, etc.
  • Group Governor’s Volunteer Award: two or more people who volunteer together as a team
  • Group Length of Service Award (groups who have served multiple years. Awarded for increments of five years, e.g., 5, 10, 15, etc.

Recipients are not required to live in Iowa but their service must have benefited an Iowa organization or community. Those previously honored with an Individual Award should not receive another but may be selected once every five years for a Length of Service Award.

Types of Service

Starting in 2021, Volunteer Iowa began collecting information to be able to recognize different types of service across the state. While not required as part of a nomination, nominators may select the following types of service for the GVAs:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Arts and Culture
  • Disaster Relief/Recovery: (e.g. COVID, natural disasters)
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Education
  • Environmental (e.g. cleanup, preservation/restoration)
  • Food Assistance
  • Future Ready Iowa
  • Health/Hospital
  • Housing
  • Mentoring
  • Senior Assistance
  • State Employees who volunteer
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics)
  • Youth who volunteer
  • Other

Submitting Recommendations

All information must be submitted online and approved by an official Governor’s Volunteer Awards coordinator. Award recipient information can be submitted using one of the following methods:

  • All organizations (including state government agencies) submit information, and the handling fee, directly through Volunteer Iowa. Organizations will be able to submit the handling fee online. Fill out the nomination form.
  • State agencies will submit nominations through the same online form. Invoicing will be handled separately.
  • Staff of state government agencies must submit nominations through their agency's coordinator. A contact list is available at the bottom of this page.

Nominations are accepted from: City governments, community colleges, county governments, federal government units operating in Iowa, Iowa MENTOR certified programs, K-12 schools (public and parochial), national service programs operating in Iowa (AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Seniors), nonprofit and charitable organizations, private colleges and universities, non-state government organizations.

Submit Nominations

Questions? Contact the Governor's Volunteer Award program coordinator via email at or by phone: 515.348.6225 (800.308.5987).

State Agency Coordinators

STATE AGENCY EMPLOYEES must request nomination instructions from their agency's coordinator:

Questions?  Contact Volunteer Iowa at or by phone: 515.348.6225 (800.308.5987).