VT readers ask questions about volunteer management
and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant
and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com
This year National Volunteer Week is April 23-29.
Don't miss this opportunity to do something unique to recognize the important
contributions your volunteers make to your organization. Even if you have
a gala banquet already planned or no plans at all, this special week is
the perfect time to do something memorable for your volunteers.
Get other staff members involved in the efforts
so that this doesn't become your show! Ask them to write personal notes
to the volunteers they work with and be willing to help them with their
prose. Or, ask them to help you plan and execute a recognition event.
Or, ask them to come up with a theme for recognition you're already planning.
In other words, share the wealth with your colleagues!
Fun and Easy Recognition For All
Recognition doesn't have to be expensive. It doesn't
have to take a lot of time to prepare, nor does it have to be formal.
It does need to be sincere and often. Some of the least expensive and
easiest forms of recognition can be found right in your grocery store.
Here are some ideas that have proven successful for many years.
Tree seedlings or flower seed packets "Thanks for helping
Paper clips or a glue stick "Thanks for holding us together"
M & M candies "Thanks for being Marvelous and Motivated
Lifesaver candies "You're a "lifesaver" for
Candy mints "We care a 'mint' about you" or "Thanks
for helping us raise a 'mint'"
Ruler or tape measure "Your contributions are immeasurable"
Party whistles "Let's celebrate our success"
Package of batteries "Thanks for energizing us"
Stick of chewing gum "Thanks for sticking with us [or
with this project]"
Flash light "Your vision is our guiding light"
Now use your own creativity and think of a few
more! If you have difficulty, walk around the grocery store, look at all
the products available, and see what you can create as some recognition
plays on words. Hint: The candy aisle is a good place to start. You will
find volunteer "Paydays, $100,000 Bars," etc.
you are conducting a planning meeting or leading a discussion group, you
can use some of these forms of recognition to set the tone for the meeting.
Pass around several small baskets of goodies as you open the meeting,
explain their meaning, enjoy the chuckles, and start your meeting off
in a positive direction. Goodies to include are:
M & M's for being Motivated members and for all the Marvelous
and Meaningful ideas they are going to create;
Snickers for the laughter everyone will enjoy;
Small boxes of raisins for those who raise some difficult questions
or issues; and
Lifesavers for continuing to bring new life to your organization
You will be surprised at the delighted expressions
that these items bring to your group members and just how this can increase
the productivity of a meeting!
Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources,
has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted
and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral,
Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association
for Volunteer Administration.
Send your questions to Connie
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
10103 Edward Avenue * Bethesda, MD 20814 * VOICE: 301-530-8233 * FAX: