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Volunteers are an essential resource at many care facilities. The impact on those receiving their services is often profound and priceless.
The commitment of volunteers and their generous offer of time, energy, and skills should be acknowledged on a regular basis throughout the year. It is essential to remember that volunteers themselves require support and encouragement to continue their noble work.
Once you have recruited good people, you want to keep them! If the standard of recognition s high, volunteers are more likely to maintain their commitment to you as they will feel appreciated and valued.
12 Informal Ways to Support Volunteers
- Take your time when conducting orientation for volunteers. Introduce them to management and staff and make sure they get to know the premises well.
- Give volunteers specific, practical tasks that are easy to follow up on.
- Express gratitude and appreciation verbally or through handwritten notes. Always use a personal tone: “You’re doing such a great job!” instead of: “Good job!”. Be sincere.
- Celebrate their milestones and achievements with a small gathering or recognition event.
- Take photos “on the job” and make a poster displaying them with a large and colorful ‘Thank You!’ written on it.
- Create a relaxed and friendly environment where volunteers feel comfortable, valued, and part of the team.
- Organize social events or team-building activities to foster camaraderie.
- Offer snacks, refreshments, or occasional treats during volunteer shifts.
- Share success stories from seniors who have benefited from their efforts.
- Establish a suggestion box for volunteers to share their ideas and concerns.
- Allow volunteers to have a say in decision-making processes and program improvements.
- Provide opportunities for volunteers to shadow or learn from experienced caregivers.
10 Formal Ways to Support Volunteers
- Develop a comprehensive volunteer orientation program to ensure they are well-prepared for their roles.
- Offer formal training sessions or workshops on relevant topics, such as first aid or senior care techniques.
- Provide a clear role description for each volunteer.
- Provide ongoing supervision and support through regular check-ins and debriefings.
- Assign a dedicated volunteer coordinator to serve as a point of contact for volunteers' questions and concerns.
- Make sure there is at least one formal celebration annually to honor their efforts.
- Issue certificates or badges to acknowledge their dedication and commitment.
- Send birthday and get-well cards. Feature them regularly in your newsletter.
- Nominate a volunteer of the month; place their photo in a prominent place and present them with a large decorated card with residents’ signatures.
- Collaborate with community partners to offer exclusive discounts to volunteers.
Fostering a Culture of Recognition is Key
Volunteers are the heart and soul of many care facilities, bringing immeasurable value to the lives of those they serve. Their commitment and dedication should never go unnoticed.
By implementing a combination of informal and formal ways to support and appreciate volunteers, we can create an environment where they feel valued, recognized, and motivated.