A few weeks ago, I talked about the importance of volunteerism. As the CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, I had to make the tough decision a few weeks ago to postpone the Adult Recognition part of our Annual Meeting. It pained me because the highlight of the evening is always honoring the individuals who give their time and talent to make a difference in the live of girls and young women.
It made me think of ways we can honor these individuals every day and throughout the year. I put together a list of simple ways to honor their work and commitment.
- Listen to what they have to say and ask them for their input. The best way to honor a volunteer is to listen to their opinion about the work they are doing for you or your organization. Volunteers have insight to the work we are doing and ways to improve efficiencies and they need to know that their opinions matter.
- Give them the big picture of how their work makes a difference. Sometimes it is hard for volunteers to see the benefits of their work as they may not be able to see the impact of their work. Share the results of the good work you are doing, the goals that your organization has set, and how the work that they are doing meets your mission.
- Offer help and support. Volunteers love to do a great job. The work they planned to do may require more time or effort during certain times of the year, or during specific projects. During these times, offer to help or check in to make sure everything is going well. Everyone wants to be successful.
- Give them a shout out! Most organizations have social media channels which love to promote the success of its work. You can give volunteers much-deserved kudos on social media or send a digital card or thank you note.
- Find fun and unique ways to show your appreciation. Although we cannot have a physical recognition event right now, we will as soon as it is safe to do so. We will highlight their efforts and give honors for years of service. Of course, we will award special recognitions and honors for those who have gone above and beyond.
- Allow your volunteers to share their best practices with others. Part of the reward of volunteerism is the work itself. Another part is the experience and networking that comes with it. The leadership and skills that come with volunteer work are beneficial to most people in the workforce.
Life will return to normal soon and we will be able to gather in person again – when it is safe to do so. Until then, we need to thank everyone around us for the dedication they have in moving forward despite present-day challenges. I know we simply couldn’t be successful and do our work without the support of our volunteers.