National volunteer week:a time to reflect or plan

National volunteer week is a great time to formally recognize your volunteers. This time of year is where media highlights the efforts of all the great work being done by the millions of volunteers across Canada but does it or should it end this week.
my thoughts are this is also a great week to engage your staff and start communicating your recognition plan for the coming year.
You have to remember that recognition is an ongoing process that requires planning. It is an integral part of the partnership that you have with volunteers and volunteers are looking for recognition that has meaning to them individually.
Recognition can be both formal and informal and does not have to cost a lot of money.
This is part of working and supporting volunteers that can be fun, creative, exciting and an opportunity to engage your staff.
Speaking of staff, this is also a great time to thank the staff that work with volunteers, highlight the accomplishments to all stakeholders and be open to new volunteers that may be interested in getting involved.
Matching recognition to the motivations of the volunteers are key. The way you recognize youth can look very different than the way you thank employee volunteers, boomers, retired etc…. So plan accordingly.
Finally, here are some times that thanking volunteers is key:
First day
Weekly
Monthly
Annually
After a project is complete
Special times of the year
Some of these ways can be as simple as highlighting their contributions, thanking their supervisor, sending them a quick note, inviting them for coffee, taking the time to just chat for a few moments.
There are many ways to say thanks and many ways venues to express it.

On a personal note, I want to thank all the volunteers and coordinators of volunteers who read my posts, post comments, ask for advice, repost, and are just listening to my ideas. Keep doing it and I will keep writing.

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3 thoughts on “National volunteer week:a time to reflect or plan

  1. I manage a robust volunteer program for a large organization that assists the homeless community. Traditionally, we have recognized our volunteers by hosting a dinner at a partnering church during Natl Vol Week. It was always a sit down dinner that we had catered (on a tight budget), nothing too fancy but a lot of work for our team trying to thank our volunteers. Last year my husband attended and afterward he said “that was nice but it doesn’t “feel” like your organization, it feels like you are trying to be someone you are not”. He was right so this year we hosted a Saturday afternoon picnic at our facility with sandwiches, desserts, balloons, client success stories and lots of fun under a tent. We received such great feedback we’ve decided to make this our new annual event. I have found that the greatest recognition for our volunteers is for them to understand what they are a part of and the impact they are making. Client stories, a smile and a picnic was perfect!

    1. That sounds great, it is so important to have the recognition feel natural and reflect your volunteers which sounds like you did. It is important to blend a variety of recogniton tools during the lifecycle of the volunteer
      Thanks for the comment
      Lori

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