Do you know what makes your volunteers feel appreciated?

The importance of this stage is the institutionalization of recognition; not only for large projects but also the daily maintenance of the organization. AFS does a good job of recognizing trainers, chapter presidents, and board members, among other visible roles. What about the volunteers that tirelessly search for host families, review innumerable participant applications or are emergency host families?

The guiding word for this step is empathy. We need to understand what makes our volunteers feel their contributions are valued. Recognition should be shown on a regular basis, in whichever form is most relevant to the volunteers themselves. Also, length of commitment to AFS could be recognized via awards presented at an annual AFS chapter party to acknowledge volunteers’ anniversaries of commitment to AFS.

Check out the below video from AFS India regarding recognizing the efforts of volunteers:

Steps to Consider

When developing ways to recognize your volunteers, take in consideration the following questions:

  • What recognition processes do you have in place for your local volunteers?
  • Do your volunteers know they are appreciated? If yes, how do you know?
  • How do you currently recognize volunteers for their contributions and efforts?
    • What is the feedback you have received from the volunteers about this process?
    • Does it make them feel valued and appreciated?
    • Is it as frequent and as specific as they would like?

The following Stages of Participation:

  1. Leadership Development

  2. Playground & Laboratory

  3. Assessment and Data Colletction

  4. Retention