According to the National Philanthropic Trust, people spend more than 7.9 billion hours volunteering every year. Organizations should come up with various strategies to ensure the number of hours spent volunteering continues to grow. Simple acts of appreciation can make a big difference in creating long-lasting engagements with volunteers.
Create a personal relationship with the volunteer
Volunteers often feel valued if you make an effort to know them on a personal level. Greet them by their names whenever you bump into each other. Ask them casual questions, such as how their weekend was and what they are planning to do the next day. Also, do not forget to thank them for their contribution to the project.
Give the volunteers the bigger picture
You need to give the volunteers a perspective about what they are doing. Most people want to have a clear picture of the project they are undertaking. They want to know how it applies to the organization’s mission and what the society will gain at the end. Giving the bigger picture shows that you respect and appreciate their work.
The volunteers will not only feel appreciated, but they will also like you better if you provide food at work. The food does not have to be from a recipe made for cocktails. A simple snack will do the job perfectly.
Feature volunteers on the organization’s website
Take time to interact with the volunteers and know their stories. Gather insights from their stories and feature them on your blog or website. You can feature one volunteer once a month.
Say thank you
Every human knows that saying thank you can make a great difference. Thank you can be verbal or in the form of letters. You can also say thank you through gifts. Doing this shows the volunteers that you appreciate their effort. They will most likely work with you again.
Award the volunteers
You need to recognize volunteers who have delivered beyond their expectations and awarded them. Create many positions for nomination to cover as many people as possible. Awarding is one of the greatest ways of showing appreciation in any setup.
Give the volunteers regular updates
People in voluntary programs love to know whether what they are doing is making any difference. You can help your volunteers take pride in their work by updating them regularly on the specific milestones of the project. This may include the amount of money raised, houses built, people treated, animals sprayed or any other information related to the project.
Provide enough training and a safe working environment
You need to prioritize the safety of your volunteers. Take time and come up with a training and safety plan. Do not just throw your volunteers into a project and expect them to perform well by fending for themselves.