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Blog > 32 Ways to Recognize your Volunteers

32 Ways to Recognize your Volunteers

posted on Jan 9, 2018

Volunteers are central to what you do. You couldn’t do your great work without them, so make sure you let them know, every chance you get, how important they are. You can do that every day, in big and small ways. Read our previous blog posts to understand volunteer motivations and the volunteer recognition gap.

National Volunteer Week ideas

  1. Give a certificate to commemorate anniversaries of involvement
  2. Hold a special “thank you” social function in honour of volunteers
  3. For long-standing volunteers, collect coins in the amount of hours contributed, place them in a vase tied with a nice ribbon and present to them at a special event

Planning ideas

  1. Match the volunteer’s desires with the organization’s needs
  2. Develop a volunteer policy for your organization
  3. Provide a clear role description for every volunteer
  4. Provide car and bike parking for volunteers
  5. Devote resources (time and money) to volunteer support
  6. Maintain Occupational Health and Safety standards
  7. Provide the opportunity for volunteers to take a leave of absence

Things to do every day

  1. Greet your volunteers by name
  2. Be honest at all times
  3. Give volunteers a real voice within the organization
  4. Tell volunteers how their work has contributed to the organization’s mission

Value their input

  1. Encourage volunteer participation in planning that affects their work
  2. Ask volunteers for ideas of how the organization can show it cares
  3. Enable volunteers to grow on the job
  4. Review the progress of volunteers on a regular basis
  5. Give opportunities for volunteers to debrief, especially if they work in stressful situations.
  6. Provide meaningful and enjoyable work
  7. Supervise volunteer work
  8. Set up a volunteer support and mentoring group
  9. Solicit volunteers’ input before imposing new policies and procedures

Some ideas that may involve a slight cost

  1. Provide excellent training and coaching (pro tip: Volunteer Ottawa has excellent training courses, at very reasonable prices. Volunteers who work for our member organizations qualify for the member rate on all training.)
  2. Reimburse out-of-pocket expenses
  3. Include volunteers in coffee breaks
  4. Provide free refreshments during coffee and lunch breaks
  5. Nominate your volunteers for VOscar awards

Annual or one-off ideas

  1. Conduct an exit interview when a volunteer leaves
  2. Feature your volunteers at special events throughout the year
  3. Present special awards for 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and more years of service
  4. Nominate a volunteer of the month, put up their picture in your office in a public place and send it to the local newspaper

To learn more about volunteer recognition, and to get certified in Achieve Ontario, come to our upcoming workshop. This seminar is free for VO members. Bring your laptop to this interactive session.

Click here to register Tuesday, February 6, 2018. 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Volunteering Australia. (n.d.). 101 Ways to Recognize your Volunteers. Retrieved from Volunteering Australia: https://volunteeringaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/VA-Managers-101-Ways-to-Recognise-Your-Volunteers.pdf
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