Recognizing volunteers effectively can positively impact your retention rates. Check out these five ways to recognize volunteers today.

Actively recognizing volunteers is one of the most important components of volunteer engagement and retention. Volunteers today are looking to provide their time and potential financial resources to organizations that offer them value in exchange for their commitment. Adding recognition to your nonprofits volunteer program is just one more way of enticing supporters to continue to donate their time regularly. What strategies is your organization deploying to reward and recognize volunteers? Are those strategies having a positive impact on improving volunteer experience?


When considering reward and recognition strategies it is key to have an end-goal and metric for measurement. Think about what adding rewards and recognition will achieve for your organization before deploying any of the below strategies. Remember to consider both long and short-term goals. The five strategies below have the potential to be effective with the right goal and method of tracking volunteer program success.

Here are five creative tips for recognizing volunteers.


Make Recognizing Volunteers Fun for Both Volunteers and Staff

Reward and recognition programs are meant to be fun. Making volunteerism fun can challenge volunteers, build relationships, and have a positive effect on the bottom line. Deploying gamification can help you achieve this goal. Your organization can use gamification to challenge volunteers, reward them for opportunities served, and create incentives for retention. The possibilities for how to use gamification are endless. VolunteerHub’s volunteer management software makes it possible to track volunteer gamification data directly from your organization’s volunteer database.


Little Volunteer Recognition Tactics Go a Long Way!

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the little things go a long way in effectively recognizing volunteers. Saying thank you, investing in getting to know supporters, and active communication are just a few small ways to show volunteers that your organization values them and their commitment. Lack of recognition is one of the top 5 reasons that volunteers stop filling opportunities according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Remember, the little things count the most.


Demonstrate and Communicate Impact…Often

Volunteers are one of your organization’s most important stakeholders. Reward and recognition are much more than just parties and awards. Keeping volunteers up-to-date is just as important. Providing volunteers with updates regarding mission attainment will help demonstrate the individual impact they are making towards the cause and help to convey the big picture. The top reason that volunteers give is to make an impact in their community. The steps that your organization takes to demonstrate and communicate volunteer impact can make a substantial difference to a supporter when they consider filling additional roles and opportunities in the future.


Create a Support Network for Volunteers

Recognizing volunteers should start the moment they fill their first opportunity. Providing supporters with training, mentorship, and contacts can help them feel more comfortable and part of the team. Volunteerism takes many supporters out of their comfort zone and a support network can alleviate confusion and concern. Providing volunteers with support can also help an organization get the most out of each volunteer by making sure they are on the right track in each opportunity served.


Recognize Volunteers by Developing Their Skills

One of the main reasons that volunteers provide their time is to learn new skills/advance existing ones in exchange for their commitment. Your organization can reward supporters by investing in on-going skill development and training opportunities. Make an effort to learn about volunteer motives and what skills supporters want to leverage and develop during opportunity fulfillment. Make the identification of this information a part of your organization’s volunteer recruitment process.


Here are a few more tips on how to create a volunteer recognition program and some creative tips for employee recognition.


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