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“Mug them” the latest of 143 ways to say thank you to a volunteer…

30 Jul

How many ways can you/we say thank you to a volunteer? Please # and add to the list, thanks. LinkedIn Discussion in Volunteer Management Best Practices network

1. [Directly to the volunteer say] Thanks for volunteering today
2. Print a set of business cards for the volunteer
3. Greet them by name
4. Send out volunteer eCards…

Hmmm… So it is summer I wonder if there are any unique ways to recognize volunteers during the Summer?

Since Darlene gets credit for at least # 142 – great suggestions by the way…

Might I offer #143…

“Mug them” for years my father then later I received and proudly displayed our annual “Recognition Mug” for volunteering several days or a week at Boy Scout Summer Camp.  All in all a pretty good trade a week’s vacation and perhaps $100 or so to get to sleep in a tent, get plenty of exercise walking up and down hills through the woods, perhaps helping with a merit badge class, or helping younger boys learn Second and First Class skills, then of course someone has to help taste test the “Cobbler” and sit in on a Board of Review or 3 or 4 and attend a couple of Campfires, and did I mention drive a car full of boys about 350 miles each way – and yes I was very happy to walk down into the campfire circle each year and collect my mug and a round of applause from the Scouts.

What are a few other “seasonal” ways to recognize volunteers?

Note: my sincere thanks to colleagues who contributed the first 142 ways to say thank you to a volunteer. You all do amazing work and provide brilliant insights into year round volunteer recognition and retention.

Bruce Summers

Summers “Engagement” Consulting.

Collaboration for Development

10 Apr

Working with about forty  World Bank Group Task Teams and departments to design and implement external social collaboration groups/communities to enhance knowledge discovery and knowledge exchange on a wide array of international develoment topics. Collaboration for Development (C4D) can be accessed by anyone, though most C4D Groups are for members only.  Typical members are colleagues from partner organizations, international development practitioners, researchers, government officials and students interested in discovering more about spefic topic areas or domains.

C4D Groups often connect unique groups of international development colleagues and specialists, example the Learning from Mega Disasters group shares known knowledge – Knowledge notes capturing lessons and expertise from the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsumami with disaster response practitioners around the world, who then interact, discus, share and develop new knowledge that can help colleagues world wide develop better disaster preparedness and response systems, practices and procedures.

Many of the C4D Groups utilize best practices gleaned from Community of Practice (CoP) research to design and develop their groups combined with good emerging practices in social collaboration.

A few good resources…

Nonprofit CEOs – Why Volunteer Engagement Matters?

14 Feb

• Serve on Boards, shape vision, cultivate resources, review, revise and approve budgets and serve as fiduciaries for the general public.
• Can do just about any function that employees can do with corresponding training, and often have a unique blend of experience and empathy that employees have not yet developed.
• Especially youth and young adults, Millennials… are the current energetic, idealistic action arms of many nonprofits, but more importantly will “vote” time, talent, treasure, will advocate for and build social capital for your nonprofit for years and years.

Research shows
• That youth who volunteer are more likely to volunteer later in life
• That people who volunteer are much more likely to make donations than people who do not regularly volunteer.
• That corporate employee volunteers not on provide valuable time, skills, and expertise, but their companies often are willing to match their time with corporate donations, example Dollars for Doers programs.
• Clients often make great volunteers, example disaster response clients often offer to help later in life with disaster response, some step forward immediately to help staff disaster shelters.
• Volunteers are often willing to take extensive training to qualify to do meaningful work even in a regulated environment.
• Volunteer programs may provide huge returns on investment, example one Red Cross Blood Region with a volunteer drivers program for transporting donated blood would have cost the Region over $1 million in equivalent salary and benefits to hire and train employees as drivers.

CEOs should consider
• Volunteer engagement as a first choice staffing solution
• How volunteer engagement is blending with fund raising, communications and marketing, advocacy and social media messaging?
• What are the critical tasks tied to business goals, does your organization have the right set of employees, consultants, temps and volunteers with the right knowledge and skills to surpass business goals?
• If not, then how volunteers can be mapped to potential staffing “gap areas” tied to your business plan?
• Which is more important $500,000 worth of volunteer expertise currently in place or $500,000 of financial prospects in the pipeline?
• Do I have dedicated staff resources – volunteer(s) and or employee(s) focused on targeted volunteer engagement mapping talent and people resources to business needs?
• You may not be able to pay salaries for Fortune 500 executive level talent, however they may be more than willing to work for your organization as a volunteer, just ask.

Recommended Reading

From the Top Down
By Susan Ellis
Outlines the key executive decisions necessary to lay the foundation for effective volunteer involvement: policies, budgeting, staffing, employee-volunteer relationships, legal issues, cost and value of volunteers, and more. Revised in 2010!

Leading the Way to Successful Volunteer Involvement: Practical Tools for Busy Executives
By Betty B. Stallings with Susan J. Ellis
A set of checklists, worksheets, idea stimulators, and other practical guides for senior-level leaders to incorporate volunteer involvement as a key ingredient in the overall strategy of an organization.

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