7 Creative Ideas for National Volunteer Week

    Celebrate Service!

    Do you have special volunteers that you'd like to thank? Now is the time to prepare, as National Volunteer Week is April 23-29, 2017. Without volunteerism, many organizations wouldn't be able to survive. Citizen volunteers are one of the work forces that make a huge positive impact in our communities, but a crucial part of keeping  volunteers engaged is to make sure they feel appreciated.

    How do YOU keep your volunteers happy and motivated? Here are 7 ideas to make sure your volunteers feel appreciated and acknowledged for their service.

    7 Creative Ideas for Recognizing Volunteers

    1. Share the results of their efforts. This sounds basic, but it's crucial.  Volunteers want to know that their effort makes a difference.  Open communication about the positive impact of their work motivates continued service.

    2.  Throw your volunteers an exclusive party. Use all that payroll you're saving to host a volunteer-only bash. Include food, drinks, and entertainment. Make sure the head of the organization is there to socialize and personally thank each volunteer. DON't make it a pot-luck, as that cheapens the entire event.

    3.  Host an educational speaking event or workshop. Many volunteers would prefer a chance to learn something new over getting another trinket to put in their home. Invite a chef, professor, newscaster or some other popular knowledge leader to speak at your event. I guarantee attendance will be high and your volunteers will love it!

    4.  Give a gift.  If going this route, make the gift related to the volunteer work they do. For example, for a Master Gardener volunteer, give a seed packet, gardening gloves, or a bouquet of flowers. For a festival volunteer, give free concert tickets, credit towards food vendors, or some unique art from the festival. For a school volunteer, have each student draw a picture and write a thank you for the person, and then bind it into a book.

    5.  Make recognition public. If you have an office, be sure to display the names of your volunteers in a prominent place. Or publish them in your newsletter, on your website, or in the paper. Volunteers want to be seen as an important part of the organization, so be sure to tell them so!

    6. Choose a Volunteer of the Year. Create a little competition among your volunteers to be the best! The winner should get a prize, such as a gift certificate, along with an award, such as an engraved plaque or crystal award. They definitely deserve hardware for this accomplishment!

    7:   Nominate one of your superstar volunteers for a national award. Their service should be celebrated! Check out Points of Light for available awards, along with the nomination process.

    Give some thought about what feels right for your organization. Just like any employee appreciation program, volunteers should be celebrated for a job well done!

    Cheers, Jessica

    Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 9th, 2013.  It has been updated for content.

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