Recognition and Thanking Volunteers
Showing volunteers how much you value their work is essential. After all, without volunteers we couldn’t provide the service we offer. Therefore, it’s important you thank people in a meaningful way that recognises their efforts and impact.
During the 1st-7th June 2017, it is Volunteers' Week. This is the idea time to tell volunteers ‘you make the difference’. It’s the annual campaign to be part of to thank your volunteers and celebrate the difference they make.
Last year there was a record breaking 900 events across the country posted on the Volunteers’ Week map and we hope that many more will be inspired by the campaign this year. From running events to sharing thank you messages on social media, we want to inspire organisations across the country to come together to let volunteers know that they make a difference and their gift of time matters.
If you haven’t had a chance yet, and are a little unsure on what to do to mark the occasion, then there’s still time! Please take a look at the suggestions given by NCVO here. If you are pressed for time, you can simply write a Volunteer thank you shout out onto our Volunteer Suffolk and Community Action Suffolk social media accounts for us to share, or drop the Volunteering team a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, telling us in a sentence or two about how your volunteers make a difference using #volunteersweek and #volunteersuffolk.
If you are holding a volunteer thank you event, or volunteer’s awards ceremony, then please let us know and you can also post them here on the map.
We're all different!
Remember that some people love lots of public recognition while others may prefer to be thanked in a much quieter way so keep it relevant and appropriate.
Most volunteers will want to be thanked in a way that doesn’t cost much to your organisation so steer away from expensive gifts.
- Just say it. Thank you. It’s an obvious gesture but one that can make someone’s day. If saying it isn’t enough, perhaps buy a card or make a certificate.
- Make time for your volunteer and treat them well. Make them a cuppa, ask how they are getting on. Small gestures make the difference.
- Show volunteers the difference they make. For example, volunteers may appreciate it if you contact them to tell them how much money was raised from an event and how it will be spent. Also success stories/details of how your organisation is making a difference.
- Think long-term appreciation – nominate a volunteer for a company volunteer award. It could be for long service or because they’ve done something exceptional.
- Arrange a meet and greet event for volunteers. They can meet their peers and swap experiences while feeling special and valued for the time and support they all offer.
- Hold a social event to celebrate volunteers’ achievements. This could be a team lunch or an evening event away from your work. Think about the time and location so that as many volunteers as possible will be able to attend.
- Recognise your volunteer’s potential. Think about giving your volunteer a new role that will stretch them and challenge their ideas of what they can achieve.
- Communication is key. Update volunteers on the latest policies, procedures or activities, and ask them for their ideas and opinions on the projects you’re working on.
- Has your volunteer got an interesting story to tell? If so, ask them if they’d be happy to be a case study for your website or your company newsletter.
- Has fundraising reached a significant milestone? If so, you could create a certificate to mark the occasion or a special plaque. You could ask your local newspaper to take a picture of you awarding a plaque or certificate to your volunteers
- Thank individual volunteers for their achievements in newsletters, company emails or team meetings.
When volunteers leave
If a volunteer decides to leave their role with your service, it’s important to hold an exit interview. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable feedback about their experience and personally thank a volunteer for their work. You may also ask your colleagues to sign a leaving card, offer to provide a reference and tell your volunteer the door is open for their return in the future.