The month of April has been designated as Volunteer Appreciation Month. Volunteers are crucial to the work of nonprofits. Millions of people volunteer each year and provide thousands of hours of service….service that translates to money saved by the organization. As a matter of fact, many nonprofits could not continue serving their communities without the service of volunteers. Unfortunately, far too many nonprofits do a really poor job of appreciating their volunteers.
So, how can your organization demonstrate to its volunteers that their time and talents are truly appreciated?
Begin with the organizational culture. Does your organization have management practices in place that support volunteers? This includes having a job description for the various roles filled by volunteers. In addition, the organization should also ensure that it has adequate resources to support its volunteers. This includes having a workspace for volunteers and ensuring that a paid staff person provides guidance and direction on a regular basis.
The Points of Light Foundation has identified some best practices for recognizing volunteers:
- Make recognition a priority
- Do it often
- Be sincere
- Do it in different ways
- Recognize the person, not the work
- Make it appropriate to the achievement
- Be consistent
- Be timely
- Customize it
Recognition can occur in both formal and informal ways. Next week, I will be writing about some budget conscious ways to implement recognition programs.