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November 2009
Recognition Resources for International Volunteer Day
In This Issue
Featured Book: Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff

More Recognition Resources

Book Excerpt: Recognition Must Be an Integral Part of the Organizational Climate
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International Volunteer Day is coming up on December 5th, so now's a great time for focusing on all the everyday ways you can show recognition and appreciation to volunteers. For those of you in the United States, our Thanksgiving holiday next week is also a wonderful opportunity to say how thankful you are for volunteers along with other blessings. Strategize how to create a culture of appreciation throughout your organization and keep volunteers coming back.
resourceFeatured Book
Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff:
The Art, the Science, and a GAZILLION Ideas!

Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff Revitalize volunteers and paid staff by thanking them in new and creative ways. Recognizing that each person is an individual, author Sue Vineyard describes how to tailor your recognition ideas to fit the "Achievers," "Affiliatiors," and "Empowerers" in your organization. She outlines 10 keys to recognizing volunteers, including the importance of creating an appreciative organizational climate all year round, and ends with a list of lots and lots of actions you can take to say thank you every day.

Order the Book NOW!
(e-book, $10.00 USD)
b2More Resources on Volunteer Recognition
Resources Book Excerpt
Recognition Must Be an Integral Part of the Organizational Climate

From Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff: The Art, the Science, and a GAZILLION Ideas! by Sue Vineyard, 2001.

The most difficult concept to get across to people as I discussed recognition with them was that it was not an event or was an attitude that had to be present in everything the organization did. It is critical that recognition, which is simply a way to express appreciation and respect, is apparent in every aspect of the group's interaction with others, paid or volunteer.
From honest recruiting, to clear job designs, to realistic expectations, effective supervision, training and fair evaluation, we need to constantly monitor how we treat our workers. All of these things are part of a positive organizational climate, also known as "the feel of the workplace."
Positive climates enhance and enable good work, positive relationships and satisfaction; negative or poor climates inhibit, hinder and very often fail to attain goals as they leave their workers dissatisfied. We cannot thank folks on the one hand while they have to put up with the withholding of support and information on the other. We cannot expect that a plaque, pin or nice letter from the CEO will offset having to work with Byzantine rules and/or energy-wasting procedures.

If your organizational climate is negative, wastes time and energy, is disrespectful, bigoted, refuses to change, rejects anything never done before, is run by an "elite" group or dictatorial tyrant or has its head in the sand as to clients' and volunteers' changing needs, no amount of praise and reward will overcome its nasty character...
It must be obvious, therefore, that the climate is greatly influenced by how people are recognized and honored; what norms determine appreciation, how it is earned and expressed; how fair and widespread it is. How folks "feel" in a program is very often in direct proportion to how they are recognized!
We are in a highly competitive business; that of recruiting and RETAINING volunteers. There are thousands of volunteer opportunities at hand, and getting and keeping folks is a full time job.
Keep in mind that volunteers always have the key to the front door and can depart as quickly as they came. In interviewing exiting volunteers, the only reason that comes close in explaining why a person is having to leave to that of "not enough time" seems to be: "it just didn't feel right."

Feelings are facts. Life is challenging enough without adding to stress by having to fight your way through an unhealthy, inhibiting or hindering climate. People who want to help a particular cause can probably find another agency addressing it that can offer them a job they can handle AND a healthy climate in which to work.

Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:
Excerpted from 
Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff: The Art, the Science, and a GAZILLION Ideas! by Sue Vineyard, 2001, Heritage Arts. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at
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Philadelphia, PA 19144

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