Love your volunteers

You know you need to do it, but how can you thank your volunteers in ways that are meaningful to THEM.

Volunteers at work, Lyneham Community Garden

Most Not-for-Profits and charities rely on volunteers to be more effective and to achieve their goals.  Here in Canberra, we are lucky to have the country’s highest rate of volunteerism at 36.8%.  According to the ABS, the national average in 2014 was just 31.3%. 

We’ve got a lot to be grateful for, and we need to show it. 

Stuck in a rut?

So, what is your organisation doing to show gratitude to your volunteers?  Are you hitting the mark with achievement awards or the volunteer Christmas party?  Are these the sort of activities valued by all your volunteers?

Because you’re busy, it is hard to find the time to re-think your volunteer engagement plan. It may seem easier to re-run the old tried-and-true activities, and hope everyone loves them as much as they did when you first kicked them off years ago. 

That could be a big mistake. Just like everything in life, your volunteers are changing.  Your volunteer acknowledgement “traditions” may be starting to feel a bit tired and insincere.

It could be time to check-in and see if it’s time for a refresh.

Find out what they want

Getting to know your volunteers through surveys, discussion groups, or individual conversations will give you insights into their views, values and motivations.  This will help you identify how to thank your volunteers in ways that matter to THEM.

There may be differences between what your older volunteers value and what your Gen Y volunteers appreciate.  A thank you morning tea may be spot on for some, whilst for others a shout-out on your Instagram page would delight. 

Thank them

Once you know your volunteers a little better, you can check out Volunteering Australia’s 101 ways to recognise your volunteers for inspiration.

Whatever you discover and whatever you decide to do, a heartfelt “thank you” will surely be in the mix.

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