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April 2013
In This Issue
Featured Title: Keeping Volunteers: A Guide to Retention
More Resources
Excerpt: "Providing Validations to Volunteers"
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The season for recognizing volunteers on a national level is underway. Many countries annually designate specific weeks for remembering the people who unselfishly dedicate their time and effort to making the world a better place. This week, we wish Happy Volunteer Week! to Canadians and Americans.


No matter when your volunteer recognition week is, have fun celebrating, but don't forget to make validating volunteers a common practice. Make sure volunteers feel appreciated on an ongoing basis. Here are some resources to help.

resource Featured Title
Keeping Volunteers: A Guide to Retention
Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch
Keeping Volunteers

McCurley and Lynch focus on enhancing volunteer retention and motivation, avoiding volunteer burnout, and getting beyond short-term commitments. Intertwined are many references to making sure volunteers feel recognized and appreciated on an ongoing basis, especially two chapters on making volunteers feel special and adapting recognition techniques to the unique accomplishments and personalities of each volunteer.



Read the an excerpt from this book below.


This book is available in e-book (PDF) format for immediate download. (US$10.00)


Order Keeping Volunteers: A Guide to Retention today!
resource2 Other Resources
77 Ways to Recognize Volunteers77 Ways to Recognize Volunteers
Bill Wittich
Here are techniques to make sure volunteers feel appreciated for their work. Each page is a ready-to-use recognition idea you can apply today.

This book is in e-book (PDF) format for immediate download (US $5.00). Order 77 Ways to Recognize Volunteers today!


By the PeopleBy the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers
by Susan J. Ellis
Recognize the impact of volunteers by teaching them about the role of volunteers in history. This book remains the only presentation of the full scope of volunteer activity throughout three centuries of American history.

This book is available in print (US $24.95) or in e-book (PDF) format for immediate download (US $16.00). Order By the People today!


Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff

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

Offers "10 Keys" to recognizing volunteers, with a list of lots and lots of actions you can take to say thank you.


This book is in e-book (PDF) format for immediate download (US $10.00). Order Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff today!


Training Module 12

Training Module 12 in The 55-Minute Training Series: Volunteer Recognition
Betty Stallings  

Help salaried and volunteer staff learn to appreciate the significance of meaningful recognition and to generate creative formal and informal ways to acknowledge volunteers.


This resource includes trainer instructions and notes, as well as PowerPoint slides in (PDF) format for immediate download (US $10.00). Order Training Module 12 in The 55-Minute Training Series today!


Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff

Volunteer Recognition Skit Kit
Arlene Grubbs and Evelyn Levine, CVA

Have fun at your volunteer recognition events! Seven original skits complete with instructions, complete scripts, song words, and ideas for adaptation.


This book is in e-book (PDF) format for immediate download (US $14.00). Order Volunteer Recognition Skit Kit today!


ResourcesBook Excerpt

Providing Validations to Volunteers

Excerpted from Keeping Volunteers: A Guide to Retention by Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch, Fat Cat Publications, 2005.


One method for enhancing a volunteer's sense of uniqueness is to praise them for personality traits that they possess. These validations tend to make the volunteer feel good. And this sense of feeling appreciated they foster also makes them feel connected.


A validation is a statement that praises a person's positive characteristics. Some examples of validations include:

  • I admire your work ethic.
  • I'm impressed at how pleasant you are after a hard day.
  • You sure are smart.
  • I love your sense of humor.
  • You are so good at solving problems.
  • I like the way you stay calm in the face of conflict.
  • You are such a caring person.

Such statements can be made at any time, without the volunteer having done anything in particular. They are recognition not for the work they do but for the kind of people they are....


In their simplest form, validations begin with phrases such as:

  • You are...
  • You always...

Such statements would be followed by a positive personality trait. For example:

  • You sure are smart.
  • You always come up with the best ideas.
  • You are the hardest worker I've ever seen.

The technical term for this approach in psychology is altercasting, attributing a positive characteristic to someone as a way of motivating them to actually exhibit the characteristic. Validations are even more connecting if they begin with the word "I." For example:

  • I admire ...
  • I'm impressed by
  • I like ...
  • I value ...
  • I treasure....

Again these phrases are followed by a mention of the trait being praised:

  • I admire how pleasant you are at the end of a stressful day.
  • I'm impressed by your ability to stick to a task.
  • I value your keen insight.
  • I like the way you keep an even temper.

Because it is likely your volunteers will not have heard many validations in their lives, you should be careful not to overdo it. But once people get used to hearing these kinds of statements from you, they might become comfortable validating each other. A mutually validating environment is one in which people feel connected and unique at the same time.


Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:

Excerpted from Keeping Volunteers: A Guide to Retention by Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch, Fat Cat Publications, 2005. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at


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