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April launches us into the early stages of spring, and with that a fresh movement of community volunteering during National Volunteer Month. National Volunteer Month takes place throughout April where thousands of people nationwide engage with their community through book drives, food drives, volunteer projects and celebrations.
With so many outstanding volunteers, it is important to recognize and thank them for the contributions they generously provide.
Sometimes, we get caught up in thanking all of our volunteers in the same way. According to Points of Light Institute, an important piece to thanking volunteers is remembering that volunteers are motivated by a variety of factors and, therefore, feel appreciated through different methods.
Here are a few simple ways to show appreciation for five different types of volunteers, while encouraging them to volunteer with you again!
1. The Long-Term Volunteer: Take the volunteer out to lunch or coffee to say thank you. Long term volunteers are clearly dedicated to the organization and their cause. Giving them personal recognition from the organization’s staff is important for them to feel appreciated by all involved.
2. The Short-Term Volunteer: Send a thank you card or a letter of recognition to their employer. For a one-time volunteer, it is important to send a thank you message promptly. If the project was of a significant amount of work, a larger gift such as an award, picture, or certificate can be a valuable addition to the thank you card.
3. The Achievement-Oriented Volunteer: Nominate them as Volunteer of the Month or another award. A Volunteer of the Month Award is a good way to recognize dedicated volunteers each month. This award is most useful when the criteria for the award is made known to the volunteers. This kind of goal-setting is a great way to involve driven volunteers.
4. The Affiliation-Oriented Volunteer: Submit a picture of them volunteering along with a brief description of their contribution in a newsletter or blog. Similar to the long-term volunteer, these volunteers are committed to the organization, and recognition of the volunteer’s contribution to that organization’s mission is extremely important. Notify the volunteer that they will be included in the newsletter so they can share it with friends and family, and include a personal note of thanks.
5. The Power-Oriented Volunteer: Thank them for their service and invite them to be a project leader or committee member. These volunteers are real go-getters. They love to get things done and want to be in charge. The greater the responsibility, the more they thrive. Saying thank you and promoting them to a higher position of leadership will be significant and meaningful to them.
For additional resources on volunteer recognition and award offerings, visit www.uwaylc.org/for-nonprofits. If you are new to volunteering or want to learn more about opportunities available, visit www.uwaylc.org/volunteer.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County