Here are 6 ways you can show your volunteers you appreciate them
Volunteers are the lifeblood of non-profit organisations. And while many volunteers feel rewarded simply knowing they are contributing to a cause they care about, it’s vital to invest time in recognising volunteers and thanking them for their hard work.
Showing your appreciation is essential to better volunteer engagement and retention and ensuring that they feel good whilst doing good.
Here are 6 simple but effective ways you can show your volunteers you appreciate them.
Celebrate Volunteers’ Week on 1 –7 June
Volunteers’ Week is taking place on 1-7 June and is a great time to celebrate and recognise the contribution that your volunteers make to your organisation and its cause.
This year, Volunteers’ Week coincides with ‘The Big Jubilee Lunch’ from 2-5 June which will see communities and organisations all over the country celebrate HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
What better way to celebrate your volunteers in your community than by hosting your own Big Lunch during Volunteers’ Week? Invite your staff, volunteers, supporters and beneficiaries and keep the focus on your volunteers. Share in fun, friendship, food and thanks. For ideas and inspiration, you can order a pack from the official website for The Big Jubilee Lunch here.
Awards for top performance (or effort!)
While volunteer appreciation is about showing your volunteers you value them, volunteer recognition is about acknowledging and celebrating their achievements and impact within your organisation. Creating a ‘Volunteer of the Month’ award is a great way to celebrate achievements, impact and effort. You can feature your monthly volunteers on your website, social media and in your newsletter. And because the ‘Volunteer of the Month’ will change every month it’s a way of sharing recognition and giving volunteers something to strive for.
You could even ask your volunteers to get involved by asking them to propose award recipients so that not only do they feel appreciated by you as their volunteer coordinator, but also by their peers. Win-win.
Respect volunteers’ time
While volunteers are willing to give up their time for a cause they care about, they are not willing to waste time on tedious activities such as rota scheduling and back and forth emails swapping, cancelling and confirming shifts. Using rota management software saves time for both the volunteers and administrators and shows your volunteers you are respectful of their time.
RotaCentral’s volunteer rota management software has had a big impact on The Sub Rooms, an arts and community registered charity with approximately 60 volunteers using the system:
“Our volunteers have been hugely positive about the system and often give me feedback about how easy and straightforward it is to sign up and keep track of their volunteering. It has contributed to volunteers feeling and expressing that their volunteer experience with us is a very positive one.” – The Sub Rooms
You can read the full case study here.
Provide decent refreshments
While often overlooked, the refreshments provided to volunteers while they work can have a real impact on morale. If your budget allows, provide a variety of good quality food, remembering to cater for vegans, vegetarians, and those with allergies.
Provide training and support
Many volunteers will appreciate the opportunity to access training that will benefit them both personally and professionally. Training volunteers in digital skills is a fantastic way to boost their confidence and ability to participate in all aspect of your organisation, as well as utilise technology in their personal lives. If you use an online rota management system and social media to share information and successes, you should offer to train volunteers on how to access and use these resources. The skills they learn will be invaluable and will also benefit them in their personal lives.
For young volunteers, offering to look at CVs, introducing them to useful connections or writing a recommendation letter when they apply for a job or education programme is another great way to personalise your appreciation and ensure they feel supported.
Celebrating birthdays shows your volunteers you care about them as an individual. Organise a cake and a card, have everyone sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and make them feel special on their big day.
However you choose to show your volunteers that you appreciate them, do so regularly and sincerely.