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Thanking and Supporting Volunteers - 50 ideas

1. Evaluate volunteer involvement on an ongoing basis
2. Create a climate in which volunteers can feel motivated
3. Say thank you often, and mean it
4. Match the volunteer's desires with the organisation's needs
5. Send birthday cards
6. Provide a clear role description for every volunteer
7. Make sure new volunteers are welcomed warmly
8. Highlight the impact that the volunteer contribution is having on the organisation
9. Show an interest in volunteers' personal interests and their outside life
10. Tell volunteers they have done a good job
11. Always have work for your volunteers to do and never waste their time
12. Give volunteers a real voice within the organisation
13. Set up a volunteer support group
14. Provide meaningful and enjoyable work
15. Send 'thank you' notes and letters when appropriate
16. Smile when you see them!
17. Say something positive about their personal qualities
18. Involve volunteers in decision-making processes
19. Give a certificate to commemorate anniversaries of involvement
20. Develop a volunteer policy
21. Allow volunteers the opportunity to debrief, especially if they work in stressful situations
22. Let volunteers put their names to something they have helped to produce or to make happen
23. Differentiate clearly between the roles of paid staff, trainees and volunteers
24. Have a volunteer comments box and consider any suggestions carefully
25. Make sure the volunteer coordinator is easily accessible and has an 'open door' policy
26. Provide insurance cover
27. Supervise volunteers' work
28. Have a vision for volunteer involvement in your organisation
29. Do not impose new policies and procedures without volunteers' input
30. Ask volunteers themselves how the organisation can show it cares
31. Permit volunteers to attend seminars, conferences and workshops from time to time
32. Give volunteers a proper induction
33. Celebrate the year's work together
34. Offer to write volunteers letters of reference
35. Accept that different volunteers are able to offer different levels of involvement
36. Accept that an individual volunteer's ability to commit may change over time
37. Ask volunteers' opinions when developing new policies and strategies
38. Make sure the Director (in large organisations) shows her/his personal appreciation of the volunteers' work
39. Pass on any positive comments about volunteers from clients to the volunteers themselves
40. Provide the opportunity for 'leave of absence'
41. Add volunteers to memo and e-mail distribution lists
42. Set solid goals for volunteers and keep communicating them
43. Provide car or bike parking for volunteers
44. Give the volunteer a title which reflects the work they do (not just 'volunteer')
45. Consider providing, or paying for, child care for volunteers who are parents
46. Inform the local press about the excellent work of your volunteers
47. Undertake individual supervision and support sessions
48. Always be courteous
49. Maintain regular contact with volunteers, even if they work 'off-site' or at odd hours
50. Allow volunteers to 'get out' without feeling guilty

This fact sheet is used by kind permission of
Volunteering Ireland
Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups
Coleraine House
Coleraine Street Dublin 7