Recognizing Your Volunteers

Everyone likes to get some kudos, high fives and a big thanks when they do a good job, including your volunteers!

Volunteers like making a difference in their community and knowing they’ve made a positive impact on those around them. Recognizing volunteers and getting them to come back is important for your organization too -– the average value of a volunteer’s time was worth over $24 an hour in 2016, according to

As a volunteer coordinator, help reinforce the good vibes by letting your volunteers know their contributions are important and valued every step of the way.

Before the event:

Let people know about the big picture impact they’re going to have by volunteering. When you send out an email reminder before your event to your volunteers, include some words about how they’re helping. It’s more than just a simple volunteer assignment -– they’re helping your organization’s mission and people in the community around them. Remind them of that and the value of their altruism.

During the event:

Check up on your volunteers. Whenever you and your staff have some downtime, make sure to ask your volunteers how everything is going. This shows them that you care about their well-being and this is also a chance to give some more thanks and appreciation.

Have fun by capturing the moment! Taking photos of your volunteers while they’re in the zone or shooting a group picture can be a unique way to celebrate the moment.

Food is always the quickest way to the heart. Even some basic sandwiches, chips and bottled water keep your volunteers fueled up, but also feel appreciated.

Wrapping up

Social media shout outs are an easy way to publicly thank your volunteers. Tag volunteers and note their accomplishments for followers to see. Thank you notes go a long way, whether they’re through email or handwritten notes. Give a personal touch and thank a volunteer for their specific task. The clean-up crew made sure the event looked nice and well organized and people setting up made sure the start of the event went smoothly. Thanking a volunteer’s specific role shows you recognize the work of that particular person and can encourage that volunteer to come back again.

Read More

For the Love of Snail Mail

Over the years, advances in technology have distanced many of us from regular engagement with the postal service. These days, you can email, text, call, or even video chat without delay. Although physical mail has seen a decline in day-to-day use, that doesn’t make is useless. There are certain situations in which snail mail provides benefits that internet-supported communication just can’t beat.

  • Accessibility: Not all volunteers have reliable access to phones or emails. Sending physical mail is one way to ensure your message reaches far and wide. Getting ready to announce a big event? Recruit even more volunteers with a mailed invitation!
  • Appreciation: As a volunteer coordinator, it is important that your volunteers know how sincerely you appreciate them. There is something special about receiving mail – don’t you think? In the age of convenience, a mailed card shows you put more time, care, and planning into your thank-you note. Or, perhaps you would like to send your volunteers thank-you gifts! Whether you are sending cards or swag, the postal service can help you show your gratitude.
  • Signatures, Documents & Payments: Usually, digital solutions will do the trick. (In case you’re wondering, VolunteerLocal supports digital signatures, document uploads, and payment processing!) However, some organizations and communities are still warming to the idea and prefer to rely on printed documents for their records. Others don’t have access to the printers and scanners needed to send/receive these items. At the end of the day, it’s nice to know you can always count on good ol’ mail as a backup plan.

As a tech company, we see technology as a tool to solve daily challenges – including, of course, the challenges of volunteer coordinating! However, we would be remiss to show some love for good old fashioned snail mail, when it has a number of unique benefits of its own.

Read More

The Key to Happy Volunteers

“If you build it, they will come…” (but don’t forget to hug them on the way out).

Photo cred:

Your volunteers have arrived. They’re painting faces, pouring drinks, mediating races and checking ID’s–they’re planting flowers, setting up chairs and kissing babies. By the end of the day, the crowds have thinned, the last crew is heading home, and you, event coordinator, are standing in the glorious wreckage of a job well-done. Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back, because you built it–and they came.

But you’re not done yet. There’s one last element to keeping those volunteers happy (and coming back), and it’s the simplest step of all: saying thanks.

Step 5: Volunteer Appreciation

Photo cred:

It matters. If you can retain your existing volunteers, that means less recruitment in the future, and a more knowledgeable volunteer force working for your organization. Volunteer appreciation can be as simple as a t-shirt they get to take home, and as grandiose as a volunteer member reception at a fancy venue. Buy them dinner or send them a thank-you card, recognize them by first and last name in a pamphlet or on stage, find time to thank them in person for their efforts and their passion. Just a handshake and a smile can go a long way.

Remember that volunteers are people, too–and if you go that extra mile to foster a relationship between your organization and your volunteers, it certainly won’t hurt your chances of getting that person to come back. Plus, you need to maintain that stellar reputation you’ve worked so hard to cultivate in your community. So why not send your volunteers home with a warm fuzzy feeling? Give them every reason to tell others how great you are.

Read More