The times they are a-changing, but one thing is for sure – virtual meetings and resources are here to stay. You can make virtual recognition work for you whether your volunteers are back to in-person service, serving virtually, or still waiting in limbo for their service opportunities to resume.
Volunteer recognition is vital to the success and survival of your volunteer program. When volunteers feel recognized and appreciated they are more committed to your organization’s mission and more likely to stick around. Recognition also helps you recruit new volunteers, so be sure to invest some time in finding ways to recognize your volunteer force.
Here are some ideas to explore:
HOST A VIRTUAL CELEBRATION
There are many platforms to explore when hosting a virtual celebration of your volunteers. Check out:
Find one that will work for your group size and audience. Facebook live, Youtube live, and Instagram live are great ways to invite the public to learn about your amazing volunteers as anyone can join in to watch! If you’d prefer a more private setting, set up an invite-only event with Google Meet, Zoom, GoToMeeting, or a similar platform.
Put your party planning skills to work! You can have a theme, invite speakers ahead of time, and prepare a slideshow to keep the celebration moving. Send out invitations at least a month ahead of time to give everyone enough time to add it to their calendars. If you need help finding a time that will work for your group, send out a poll beforehand.
If you put together a slideshow, keep in mind that all the content you gather is perfect for crossposting! You’ll have pictures of and stories about volunteers ready to post on your social media channels, in your newsletters, or on your blog. You can also record your presentation to share with those who may not be able to make it to your virtual celebration.
SNAIL MAIL RECOGNITION
For some volunteers, it can be incredibly gratifying to have a physical representation of your gratitude for their service. Send your volunteers thank you cards from the clients they serve, from staff members, or from your executive board. Check out our Pinterest board for some ideas!
UServeUtah also offers a free year-round recognition resource – the Lt. Governor’s Volunteer Recognition Certificate. You can nominate your outstanding volunteers and we will mail out a certificate within 2-weeks of submission thanking them for all they have accomplished. The certificate can be mailed directly to the volunteer or to your organization.
SOCIAL MEDIA SHOUT-OUTS
Thanking volunteers on your social media channels will help you retain volunteers, and can even help you recruit new ones! People are more likely to become volunteers for your organization if they understand the type of work volunteers do and can see success stories of volunteers making an impact.
Add weekly or monthly volunteer highlights to your content calendar. Send out direct asks to your volunteers to share pictures and stories about their service. This is a great opportunity to ask volunteers how they got started volunteering with your organization, what keeps them motivated, and why they think others should join in!
We love to see and share stories about Utah’s incredible volunteers. Be sure to tag @UServeUtah or use the hashtag #UtahVolunteers and we will share your volunteer recognition posts!
Want more ideas? Check out these resources!
UServeUtah’s Pinterest Boards
Coyotebroad.com: Recognizing Online Volunteers and Using the Internet to Honor ALL Volunteers
keela: 65 Ideas for Volunteer Recognition
neonone.com: From In-Person to Virtual: Volunteer Appreciation