When is National Volunteer Week 2012 and how will you celebrate volunteers this year?
April is National Volunteer Month, and the week of April 15-21 is celebrated as National Volunteer Week. Organizations celebrate National Volunteer Week differently, and over the past few years I’ve been privileged to help some great non-profit organizations plan their volunteer appreciation events. The most important thing to remember when planning your volunteer appreciation event is to make it personal and meaningful to your volunteers.
Here are four ideas that have been a huge hit for National Volunteer Week:
1. Volunteer Appreciation Event. Many organizations host a small reception or luncheon to recognize their volunteers during National Volunteer Week. To make your event successful, use a theme to coordinate your gifts, decorations, and messaging. Visit the Recognition Resource Center to read the case study of a library that celebrated volunteer with an Essential Piece theme luncheon. Read the volunteer appreciation event case study.
Coordinate your National Volunteer Week gifts and events with a theme, like Helping Hand.
2. Volunteer Appreciation Awards. When you have all your volunteers together during National Volunteer Week, take advantage of the large audience to recognize their hard work. Present all volunteers with a certificate to thank them for their efforts, and present award trophies to individuals with an outstanding number of service hours. Get ideas for volunteer certificate titles and verses.
3. Mail a Volunteer Thank You Gift. It can be difficult – if not nearly impossible! – to get all your volunteers together at one time, but it’s still vital to recognize their contributions. You can do volunteer appreciation from afar by mailing a thank you card or small gift to your volunteers’ homes. Each year, I work with a local civic theatre on their National Volunteer Week gift which is mailed to 650 volunteers. This year, the theatre is sending volunteers a fun Thanks Sticky Note Booklet. The gift has an appreciation message all over it and can be used by volunteers of all ages!
Choose a practical gift that has an appreciation message for the biggest bang for your buck out of your volunteer appreciation gift.
4. Share Public Volunteer Appreciation. Let the whole world know about your awesome volunteers by shouting their praises! There are lots of free and low cost ways to appreciate volunteers:
- Write a press release about National Volunteer Week and how your organization is celebrating volunteers.
- Send a letter to the editor about the difference your volunteers make in the community.
- Mail letters to volunteers’ employers that express how grateful you are that their employee contributes time to your organization.
- Design a social media campaign on your star volunteers. Each day during National Volunteer Week, spotlight a different volunteer on your blog, Twitter feed, and Facebook timeline.
Sharing the praises of your volunteers publically will let them know how much you appreciate them during National Volunteer Week!
Cori is Baudville's in-house Recognitionista (she's officially a Certified Recognition Professional, too) and a member of the Millennial generation. Get her employee recognition tips and special discounts by liking Baudville on Facebook.