Retention & Recognition

retaining volunteers

  1. Make sure they are trained thoroughly and feel empowered to do a good job as a volunteer
  2. Discover a volunteer's skills/abilities and match them with tasks to maximize their strengths
  3. Give feedback and ways to improve
  4. Show appreciation or give recognition

Show your appreciation for the time, talent, and work that each volunteer gives. Recognition may be in the form of a simple "thank you", formal and public events, or gifts, but the most effective recognition is frequent feedback to each volunteer. Too many large-scale or generic recognition gestures may appear insincere to some volunteers. Most volunteer programs use events or certifications that generally satisfy only praise-motivated volunteers. Design a recognition practice that will help motivate all volunteers, not just a few.

Recognition Suggestions

  • Keep brief, regular, objective notes on each volunteer’s performance. Provide all volunteers with feedback on their performance to assess future training opportunities or possible changes in assignment.
  • Be objective and concrete in your feedback. Solicit the observations of other staff who work with the volunteer, but respect confidentiality.
  • Create a pleasant and welcoming work environment by giving them a well-lit and comfortable work space, having food or drinks available occasionally, and providing ample supplies
  • Treat them as part of the site team
  • Find ways to show them and others you notice their accomplishments
  • Listen and act on their ideas and suggestions; use feedback from your volunteers' spring surveys to improve your site