In my last post, Make Your Volunteers’ Experience Truly Rewarding, I wrote about common motivators for volunteers and why it’s important to understand why volunteers dedicate their time to the association. The next step in effective volunteer management is recognizing their service and rewarding their commitment in a way that aligns with those unique motivators.
Just as volunteers’ motivations are different, so are the ways they will value being recognized and appreciated for their efforts. Rewards can vary from a certificate of recognition, a gift card, a free webinar or a discount on a publication or conference registration. Here are five ways to create a motivational rewards system for your volunteers:
- Design a points system around the mission or goal of the committee (e.g. new members recruited for a membership committee) and offer rewards for different numbers of points earned. For those who are naturally competitive or seeking a new challenge, points-based structures for rewards provide motivation.
- Longevity-based rewards, which recognize volunteers for various lengths of service to the association (5, 10, 15 years, etc.). Recognizing volunteers for many years of service emphasizes their commitment to the association and is especially valuable to those seeking to give back to the profession.
- Consider public recognition at an association conference or event for those who are seeking opportunities to meet and work with other professionals in the field. Recognizing their achievements will highlight their skills and abilities and give other professionals reason to approach them.
- A short article in your member newsletter describing the special contribution of a volunteer can go a long way. This allows individuals who are pursuing personal interests or seeking to learn new skills through their volunteer work to have their unique contributions recognized.
- And of course, never underestimate the value of a sincere and thoughtful thank you!
Recognizing a volunteer’s commitment to your association with a reward will reinforce your appreciation for his or her service and commitment. It also will increase the likelihood that your volunteers will remain engaged long-term. Whatever the motivation, making sure your volunteers feel valued and appreciated will make the experience more rewarding for them and for your organization.