Volunteers aren’t paid…

because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless!  While we’d all like to acknowledge our volunteers financially, most nonprofits don’t have the resources to do so. Here are some low-cost tips to recognize and respect your volunteers’ time and effort. 

1.  Welcome your volunteers.  Act as though your volunteer is a guest in your home. Show her around. Introduce him to your staff and other volunteer and have the executive director drop by and say hello and thanks.

2.  Keep your volunteers busy.  Don’t bring a volunteer in until you have everything worked out, from the job description to a place to work with proper equipment, to something to do immediately.

3.  Don’t give them grunt work!  Think of your volunteers as extra staff who are capable of performing complex tasks that take advantage of their experience and skills. Provide leadership opportunities to those volunteers who are willing and have the time to shoulder more responsibility.

4.  Thank your volunteers.  Although you will want to come up with some creative ways of formally saying thanks, don’t overlook the power of a simple gesture such as taking them to lunch, providing a small gift, or public recognition at an organization-wide event.
5.  Communicate with your volunteers.  Regular communication is motivating for volunteers.  If your organization has no volunteer coordinator, try and assign someone to be the point person for your volunteers.  Listen to volunteers and respond to concerns immediately.  Set up a suggestion box and implement some of the ideas.  Set up a Facebook page and encourage your volunteers to ‘friend’ the organization and contribute to postings.

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