Whether your organization runs primarily off the work and energy of volunteers, or your volunteers supplement and support your regular staff, they’re an essential piece of what you do.
They give their time out of the goodness of their hearts, and as National Volunteer Week approaches, we want to let you in on what they really want in return. And the answer might surprise you. Check it out:
Volunteers want to be recognized.
Yeah, yeah, we know they don’t do it for the attention or the praise, but just like with employee recognition, volunteer recognition is essential. Everyone wants a little recognition once in a while—though some more than others—and volunteers are no exception.
Recognition is defined as the identification of something as being seen, heard, or known. With volunteers, this means being aware of the time they’ve put in, acknowledging the tasks they’ve completed, and knowing their value to your team and organization.
One great way to recognize your volunteers is through words of affirmation. Whether you write a note or tell them in person, be sure to acknowledge their efforts. The most important thing to remember here is to be specific! “Job well done” doesn’t quite have the same ring as, “You rocked the prep for our charity event last week! I know you spent a lot of time planning and shopping for it, and I just want to say that the décor was on point. The greenery added that extra special touch.”
Volunteers want to be appreciated.
How is this different from recognition, you may ask? Well, appreciation takes recognition one step further. It goes beyond recognition of facts and has an attitude of gratitude. Appreciation is thankful recognition, and to appreciate someone means you hold them in high regard or value them highly.
So, what does this mean? It means taking your words of affirmation—where you acknowledged their efforts—and adding a heartfelt and personal thank you. It means letting them know what they mean to you and your organization . . . basically, that you couldn’t do what you do without them.
But . . . gifts are nice too.
First and foremost, make sure you’re giving your volunteers recognition and appreciation. But then have a little fun with it! Gifts are the perfect way to package it up nicely or present it with a little extra pizzazz.
We’ve got a great selection of budget-friendly, simple volunteer gifts that we’re sure you’ll love. One of our favorites is our Thyme Plant Cube, which gives your volunteers their own grow-at-home herb and has a punny message to go along with it: “Thank You for Your Thyme.”
Another favorite is Perfect 10 Life Savers Pack. In it, you get 10 Life Savers® rolls and a punny appreciation message: “You’re a lifesaver. Thanks for all you do!” It’s perfect for organizations who have a lot of volunteers.