Recognizing volunteers – the backbone of an organization
Associations rely heavily on volunteer members, many of whom do much of the work of moving the organization forward. That’s why it’s so important to recognize their efforts and keep their enthusiasm high.
The National Air Filtration Association (NAFA), a client partner of AMPED - Association Management Partners & Executive Directors, is comprised of dedicated individuals with years of experience — experience they are willing to share with other air filtration professionals. It is not a difficult endeavor to solicit volunteers within NAFA. Most are willing to dedicate their time to work on projects both large and small. Having such wonderful people within your organization is a blessing, but it is vital to appreciate their hard work every way you can.
- Recognize the volunteer at every opportunity. Thank them publically at conferences; give them plaques or tangible items that remind them how important they are to the organization. Use Facebook or Twitter to post updates with photos of the volunteers in action.
- Keep in close touch. Check in with the volunteers occasionally. Ask for their suggestions and feedback to show them how important their participation and opinion is to the group’s overall wellbeing.
- Refer technical questions to them. Rely on their expertise. When a technical question arises, seek them out for their knowhow. This will show them you recognize their authority, and gives them the opportunity to promote their businesses.
- Document their efforts in print. Periodicals, publications and newsletters offer the opportunity to recognize their work and publicize committee efforts.
- Don’t forget the volunteer’s employer. Be sure to include the employer’s name when recognizing the volunteer. Businesses sacrifice a lot in order to allow employees to attend conferences, work on committees and share their time. A way to recognize this and get the support of the employer is to always include the name of the volunteer’s company.
- Be sure to include their designations/certifications. NAFA has a certification program and the designation is always included when mentioning an individual. Not only does it help promote the program, it demonstrates the importance and value you place on the certification.
Most important of all, thank your volunteers. Send them a thank you card or call them personally. In the age of email and social media, the handwritten letter is a novelty. Personalize the note or call to thank them for a specific task they did during their time volunteering.