The Importance of a Thank You!
04 Apr 2023 by Libby Mahoney
Sandwell is exceptionally fortunate to have amazing people volunteering their time with voluntary and community groups, and we want everyone to know how much they are appreciated; whether that’s helping out with events in a face-to-face role or behind the scenes; stepping up to support local groups and organisations or helping those in need during challenging or difficult times.
Volunteers are an integral part of any organisation, not an add-on service. Whether large or small, every community or not-for-profit organisation should be making sure their volunteers know they are valued, respected, and appreciated. For example, when was the last time you said ‘Thank You’ to your volunteers? Or simply took the time to ask them how they are?
Recognising the contribution of volunteers goes much deeper than just a passing ‘thank you’ or gifts and awards. Volunteers need to be given a voice within the organisation where they can share their ideas, input into team discussions, contribute to newsletters or simply have a platform where they can share their experiences. Making volunteers feel like part of the team is incredibly important – if your staff team has a uniform, for example, might it be possible to include volunteers, perhaps with a visible designation or similar?
After all, volunteers are often at the heart of community life supporting individuals, organisations and their community in a variety of different ways. They are the backbone of many community organisations who rely on their support, passion and commitment to help them make a difference across their community. And yet they can easily be overlooked or forgotten about.
Remember, volunteers donate their time for different reasons, so understanding these reasons or motivations is very important. They may be looking to improve their job prospects for example, so offering training appropriate to their volunteering roles might boost their CV.
A volunteer’s motivation for getting involved may be to meet new people. Organising a ‘volunteer social’ is a great way to bring all your volunteers together, and regular interaction with your volunteers helps to keep them inspired and motivated.
The easiest and probably most effective way to recognise your volunteers is to make sure you say ‘thank you’ to them often, being sincere and specific when you do it. Saying ‘thanks’ can be done informally – in person, on the telephone, email or card and/or formally, for example at special events. Make sure everyone understands why you have volunteers and why they are so vital to your organisation.
Remember, anyone can volunteer; it can be very rewarding and is a great way to meet new people, gain new or use existing skills, get experience and make a big difference to your community!
If you’re looking to give back to your community and make a difference, then be sure to check out the opportunities on Let’s Go Sandwell: www.letsgosandwell.info
Click here for NCVO’s Volunteer Certificate template.