Recognition Doesn't Have to Be
ExpensiveShare Your Recognition Idea
I believe that recognition is one of the most
important parts of working with volunteers. This includes simple yet
meaningful things such as writing a brief "thanks for being an angel by
helping with XYZ project" on angel-shaped notepaper.
thank-you gift is a small booklet of quotes about volunteering that I created
on the computer. I also gave these to staff at collaborative agencies as a
small way to show how much I appreciated how they and their volunteers helped
Recognition doesn't have to be expensive. It does have to be
- Submitted by Sherry Leigh Mitchell, The Greater Kalamazoo
Area Holiday Food Drive, Michigan
|Energize Volunteer Management Update
|December Hot Topic: From Organizing
Charity to Building Community
tends to focus on charity to poor families. The challenge for
volunteer resource managers is how to redirect the traditional one-way giving
model into community building -- moving from concentrated holiday
events to year-round support and looking inside a neighborhood or
organization before looking outside for volunteers. Do you agree with this role for volunteer
Read this Month's Hot Topic
Remember you can listen to the Hot Topic as a podcast, too!
|Happy International Volunteer Day:
5th of December
The International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (IVD) was adopted by the United
Nations General Assembly in 1985. Since then, governments, the UN system and
civil society organizations have successfully joined volunteers around the
world to celebrate the Day each 5th of December.
an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make
their contributions -- at local, national and international levels --
visible. Over the years, rallies, parades, community volunteering
projects, environmental awareness, free medical care and advocacy campaigns have
all featured prominently on IVD. Go to
the World Volunteering Web IVD site and find an array of information
and resources, including:
not your country celebrates IVD, every organization can take notice and use the
opportunity to thank volunteers. Or use the ideas shared here to develop
recognition events at any time of the year.
- Project and planning ideas
- IVD logos, banners, bookmarks and clothing templates in six languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish)
- Press releases
- Descriptions of events planned as submitted by colleagues
- An invitation to post your video or view ones already posted to the IVD 2008 YouTube group
International Volunteer Day!
Ahead for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service: January 19
Of all the
single "days of service" dotting the calendar, none has gained momentum more
effectively than the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, declaring "Make It a Day On...Not a Day Off!" And while this is an American event, there is
no reason why many of the elements cannot be replicated in other countries.
date is January 19, so it's coming up fast.
There are two linked Web sites to help you plan. The first is the official MLK Day site, maintained by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The other is MLK Mobilization, co-sponsored by a range of organizations. You'll find many project ideas and help for
publicity. Register your plans and be
part of the collective effort.
|Susan's Tip of the Month: "Paying Attention to Changing Needs"
month's Hot Topic I mused about the effect of the economy on volunteering and
this month I propose some ways to engage clients and neighbors in self-help. I have one more thought about the unsettling
financial times we are living through and that is to pay attention to what is happening to the people around us,
specifically the volunteers and the paid staff of our organizations.
In 2005, I
wrote a Hot Topic on "Volunteers Just Want to Have Fun." Despite the title, I seriously
proposed that we create an environment within which not only volunteers enjoy
their work, but everyone else does, too.
While I would not describe us as "cheerleaders," I do think that, as the
staff member charged with mobilizing community resources, we have remarkable
freedom to keep people productive in ways that go way beyond pay.
aware of whether any current volunteers have lost their jobs or whether someone
in their family has? What about the
families of employees? Obviously you
cannot pry or ignore confidentiality, but people do tend to talk about personal
difficulties and being a good listener has always been a quality of the best
leaders of volunteers. So let's assume
that, simply in the course of the work week, you learn that at least a few
people are dealing with crisis. What can
can make it clear that you care. You can
ask if the volunteer needs to be more flexible with his or her schedule for a
while - which, by the way, may mean giving more hours to fill long days without
a paying job. If the unemployed person
is the spouse or other relative of the volunteer (or employee), you might
mention that you would be happy to consider her or him as a new applicant to be
a volunteer, even on a limited schedule.
Remember that self-esteem is damaged by a layoff and by issuing this
invitation you are affirming that the person has talents to share.
people are in the same boat, or your community has suffered a major plant or
company closing, host a "Want to Talk about It?" brown-bag lunch or long coffee
break, giving people the chance to vent a bit or to commiserate. If enough people participate, turn it into a
discussion of what people need and how you might be of mutual help. The holiday no-cash gift ideas I mention in this month's Hot Topic might be a place to start.
If there is
a bulletin board in a private space not seen by clients or visitors to your
facility, permit volunteers and paid staff to post what types of jobs they are
seeking for themselves or loved ones. The larger your agency, the more likely someone might have a
referral. Remember, even in bad times,
some companies are hiring.
bulletin board might also be a place to offer services for hire. You may be surprised at how many people earn
extra money (even in good times) by an array of things from elaborate cake
decorating to refinishing furniture. Not
to mention letting others know that they have teenagers willing to shovel snow
or mow the lawn for quick cash.
If this is
done in a low-key, but deliberate manner, and not in any way obtrusive to the
public, you may find that both volunteers and employees appreciate the chance
you are giving them to reach out. And
that appreciation translates into positive feelings towards the volunteer
office and to building internal community.
Energize empowers and inspires leaders of volunteers worldwide. Our specialty is creating and selecting the most relevant, innovative resources in volunteer management. We're advocates for the power of
volunteers and for the recognition of the leaders who unleash it.
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Philadelphia PA 19144
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