Recognising and rewarding the work of volunteers

  • Remember a volunteer's name, and use it when you greet them
  • Don't forget to say 'thank you'
  • Be interested in them as an individual
  • Celebrate major achievements - perhaps with an award ceremony, to which you invite prominent local people
  • Ensure they have a way of taking part in the decision making processes
  • Ask them to make presentations at meetings
  • Offer training and progression
  • Bring food to volunteers meetings
  • Nominate them for community awards
  • Mention volunteer' input at meetings, in the Annual Report, in your newsletter on your website etc
  • Remember their birthdays and send them a card
  • If they need equipment to carry out their role make sure it works and that it is as up to date as you can afford
  • Keep a file of specific accomplishments, so that you can use the facts when needed
  • Use special days - Volunteers' Week & Make a Difference Day' to celebrate their work
  • Organise a social event, outing or party to say thank you

Key points

  • Make sure that any way in which you choose to recognise and reward your volunteers fits the type of achievement and the individual concerned - make it personal and meaningful
  • Be honest and sincere - most people can see through superficial praise
  • Be consistent and fair - don't have different rules for different people
  • Make sure the paid staff are fully aware of how important volunteers are to your organisation and ensure that they have training in managing volunteers