This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Volunteer Week. Volunteer Week is set for April 7-13, 2019. The internet abounds with suggestions for recognizing volunteers. But three ideas stood out from one list as particularly excellent suggestions to keep volunteers feeling connected to and engaged with your organization.
Take time to check in with volunteers. As with any important relationship, the connectivity between an organization and its volunteers requires continuous effort. Keep celebrating their support with big gestures. But also make sure you save time for day-to-day interactions that deepen the relationship and provide an opportunity for volunteers to give you feedback. Getting a different perspective can benefit your organization beyond volunteer management.
Anyone who works for a nonprofit wants to feel connected to the mission, and that includes volunteers. Whether painting fences, serving soup, or reviewing your financial systems, make sure your volunteers understand the “why.” They are there because they believe in your mission—they have the passion—help them let that shine through in their work. Knowing their work matters will keep them coming back.
Finally, storytelling is powerful. Telling your volunteers’ stories is a great way to publicly recognize their work. Whether you do this on your website, at board meetings, or public events, it shows that you value what your volunteers do for you and your organization. In addition, stories about people who are passionate about your mission and donate their time to see it carried out resonate with others. These powerful stories can help you recruit other volunteers, board members, and donors.
Need more ideas? Wild Apricot has put together a crowd-sourced Volunteer Appreciation Guide. CNE will host Cindy Frederick of UVA on March 20, 2019 to share the Four R’s of Volunteer Management. Registration is open for the Virginia Volunteerism and Service Conference which will be held May 7 and 8 in Richmond.