Recognition makes volunteers feel appreciated and valued. If project leaders don’t feel like their contribution is valuable or necessary, they won’t return.
Volunteer recognition can take many forms — from a simple thank-you card to a large annual event. An ideal recognition system makes use of many different approaches and procedures. It's important to have something for every volunteer and to keep it personal and meaningful.
Informal and Formal Recognition
- Informal, day-to-day recognition is the most effective because it is more frequent than a once yearly banquet and it helps to establish good working relationships. Informal recognition can include anything from a simple "thank you" to a birthday card.
- Formal recognition includes awards, certificates, plaques, pins, and recognition dinners or receptions to honor volunteer achievement.
Volunteer recognition does not have to cost a lot, and there are many alternatives to the traditional annual recognition banquet. Use your imagination and think creatively to come up with some fun, inexpensive ideas that will let volunteers know they are appreciated.
NOTE: During the interview process, ask project leaders what kind of recognition they tend to appreciate. That way you can spend your time and energy on recognition techniques that will be most meaningful to each individual.