It goes without saying that volunteers are at the heart of our organizations; their time and efforts pump productivity and opportunity into our infrastructure, increasing our capacities to accomplish more for our community.  But how are we giving back to our volunteers? After all, mounting studies have shown that volunteers stay longer with an organization when they feel like they are getting something out of their experience, even if it’s not monetary compensation.

That’s why a key principle of volunteer management is to always strive to enrich a volunteer’s experience. This could mean a variety of practices: enrolling volunteers in trainings to increase their knowledge and skills, assigning specific skills-based tasks to volunteers, or better incorporating volunteers into the organization’s team. Making sure that volunteers gets the most out of their experiences ensures that they feel valued.

Another way to enrich your volunteers’ experience? Recognizing them for a job well done.

Appreciating your volunteers’ time and efforts that they dedicate to your organization is a crucial part in volunteer retention. Recognition doesn’t have to be elaborate, although an annual awards ceremony or celebration honoring your volunteers is definitely a nice touch. Instead, think of recognition acts on a daily level; as nonprofit employees, we often get caught up in the chaos of our work, and we can forget to pass on little informal gestures of appreciation—a simple “thank you” or “Your work has been so helpful!”—that can serve as tremendous morale boosters to our volunteers and make them feel appreciated for the work they do. Regular promotion of volunteers’ accomplishments, whether it be a  social media post or an announcement at a staff meeting, also helps in acknowledging their important work

We know with such strong conviction that volunteer recognition and retention go hand-in-hand, which is why every year we host the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards Luncheon, where more than 160 community organizations and businesses come together to honor hundreds of Orange County volunteers. It only makes sense to celebrate those who give so much to ensure that our community thrives.

You don't have to wait until our annual awards luncheon to make your volunteers feel appreciated!

Read more about creative ways to thank your volunteers.

Want to learn how to enhance and improve your volunteer program? Sign up for our Volunteer Management Certificate series!

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