Are volunteers essential to your organisation?
For most NGOs in Trinidad & Tobago, like the Adult Literacy Tutors Association, Save Our Sea Turtles Tobago or the Trinidad & Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation. This means that recognition must be a part of volunteer management efforts in order to communicate basic volunteer standards and reward desired behavior.
Volunteers need to feel appreciated for their work and recognition activities can be used to highlight volunteer achievements and inspire others to serve. Recognition usually falls into two categories — informal or formal volunteer recognition (e.g., certificates, plaques or annual award event) like Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago‘s recent awards function to honour volunteers.
Informal recognition is what occurs in the daily interchange between volunteers and the organisation (and should start from the first day your volunteer shows up). The good news is that it can be easily implemented by NGOs of all sizes and budgets.
Here are five easy ways to honour your volunteers using informal recognition:
- Send e-cards to new volunteers to welcome them to your organisation, like the free e-cards from American Greetings.
- Check in with volunteers about their volunteer “assignments” and solicit honest feedback about their experience with the organization.
- Send at least one written thank-you note to your longer-term volunteers over the course of their service.
- Mark and celebrate volunteers’ anniversaries and key milestones with your organisation.
- Say thank you to volunteers for a job well done.