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National Volunteer Week:
by Merle Benny
Could your organization exist without volunteers? Consider the work of those who serve on your board, show up each day or raise money for you. Volunteers deserve our appreciation all year long but National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to acknowledge their essential work.
The week has been designated by the President of the United States each year since 1974, this year it is April 19-25, 2009. It's official and as good as week as any to show your volunteers how much you appreciate their work.
Deciding how to acknowledge volunteers is challenging. You are familiar with some of those challenges including: The desire to make the award special and appropriate. A limited budget. The difficulty of finding or creating something unique and the lack of time to do it. If you're bored with the same old certificates, let's explore some new ideas.
Research has been done on the reasons people volunteer and you will want to keep them in mind as you begin the 3 Step Plan to make this year the best yet:
Some people volunteers simply because they want to help.
This information helps when you are recruiting but also when you are seeking recognition ideas. Understanding a volunteer's motivation will help you help them achieve what they set out to do. But you do not have time to understand each person's motivation (or at least not between now and April 19). This brings us to Step 1 of your plan to do something special for Volunteer Week this year.
Great Recognition Ideas
STEP 1: Profile your volunteers, by groups, to have a better sense of what would be appropriate. If you look at your Board of Directors as one group you may find that their primary motivation is to help the community or it may be to interact with others they find socially or politically powerful. Your Saturday teen volunteers may be there because they have to meet a service requirement or because they want to hang out with other teens.
Here's an example that may inspire some ideas:
Step 1: Profile your group
Here's a totally different example:
Step 1: Profile your group
April 19 will be here soon. Get started on your volunteer recognition ideas now and make this an extra special occasion for those who do so much for your organization.
About the Author:
Merle Benny is a consultant and trainer and the author of "The Winner's Circle," a practical, easy-to-use program for nonprofit success and growth covering 11 key Actions including planning, branding and raising more money. It can be found at http://www.Nonprofit-Champion.com/winnerscircle.html.
With over 25 years marketing and management experience, as well as being a lifelong volunteer, Merle's creative solutions for nonprofit organizations have included project management, strategic planning, events, websites, videos, branding, annual reports, brochures and development. She provides free ideas, tips and tools for nonprofit leaders at: http://www.Nonprofit-Champion.com.