Eight Quick Ideas for Volunteer Recognition

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I Want to Give a Shout-out to … You!


Volunteers are the heart of any not-for-profit association. Redstone recognizes the importance of celebrating volunteers, and we understand the pivotal role they play in ensuring that an association’s members are engaged and its objectives are met. One way to recruit and retain volunteers is through offering recognition programs. Thanking volunteers in both a private and public setting lets them know they are appreciated, promotes the volunteer opportunities within the organization, and boosts overall morale and motivation among your team.

Looking for meaningful ways to recognize your volunteers? Check out the ideas below that Redstone has developed or proposed to our numerous association clients:

  1. Certificates – You can’t go wrong with a snazzy certificate. Although it may be old-school, it’s easy and meaningful. PRO TIP: Personalize your certificates by including a unique message about their contribution and having someone who they look up to sign the certificate.
  2. Thank You Cards – After a successful event, it can go a long way to send hand-written and fun thank you cards to your volunteers. Onsite execution of events can be challenging for volunteers, especially those who are not event-oriented, and acknowledging their support is key. Make sure to collect their mailing information beforehand in case you cannot give the card to them in-person.
  3. Volunteer Reception/Events – Treat your volunteers to a lovely soiree! Keep some funds in your project or event budget for a small recognition event for your volunteers. Send out the invitation soon after the event, and make sure that the venue and time are convenient so that it doesn’t conflict with their job or other volunteer commitments.
  4. Discounts – Although they’re not getting paid, volunteers can still be compensated by receiving savings on things they may want or need. Provide a volunteer rate for your conference, or contact your annual sponsors to see if they will provide coupons for volunteers to use on their products or services.
  5. Volunteer Identification – Being a volunteer makes you part of a community. Foster that community by identifying volunteers, using a ribbon on their name badge or with an “I’m a Volunteer” button, at your events and conferences (we use these ribbons for many of our events).
  6. Incentives – Encourage continued volunteerism by offering rewards to those who volunteer for multiple events or for multiple years. For example, if an individual volunteers for five regional events, award them with a free membership or a volunteer of distinction award. The Volunteer Award for Arts & Culture in Toronto is a great example of this type of initiative.
  7. Referrals – Share the love! If you hear of other volunteer/work opportunities in the industry that are well-suited for your volunteers, pass the details along to them. You may be hesitant to lose a volunteer, but as long as the new role builds skills that would benefit their role within your organization, and doesn’t conflict with their current responsibilities, it’s a win-win-win! Also consider offering your volunteers the opportunity to obtain a reference letter from your organization.
  8. Online Recognition – Profile some of your volunteers on your website or on social media. Ask them what motivates them to volunteer, what their role looks like, and some of their interests outside of the organization. This puts a face to your association, helps build the network of your volunteers, and encourages others to consider volunteering for your upcoming projects and initiatives.

Want more tips and tricks? Check out our blog post: Volunteer Engagement: Eight Tips for Creating a Good Time Onsite

The list goes on! Do you have any other ideas for volunteer recognition? Share them in a comment below or share them with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

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