Meaningful Volunteer Recognition: The Vision

Post Last Updated: 2 years ago

In the last blog article,, I shared my journey as an accidental volunteer manager.  What I discovered during that adventure was a profound appreciation and admiration of volunteers.  I also found a personal and professional frustration in providing recognition that would be meaningful to the volunteers and impactful for my organization.

It was a challenge to find volunteer recognition that would be personalized and meaningful to a diverse group of volunteers; men and women from 14 to 95 representing all races, religions and cultures, while meeting my time and budget constraints. 

I provided many different types of volunteer recognition.  Some were ingrained traditions that tenured volunteers were attached to; such as the annual recognition luncheon and the hour award pins, even though newer volunteers had no interest.  Some were gifts of appreciation that some volunteers loved and others wouldn’t even take or quite possibly deposited in the trash as soon as they got home.  Some were traditional statements of honor, like a plaque or certificate, that again some loved, but others had no idea what to do with.  Some were courtesies like a birthday card with a discount coupon, a holiday card with a calendar and an anniversary announcement in the newsletter that were nice, but not very meaningful to the volunteer. 

These recognition activities combined were a diverse year-round program that succeeded in thanking and appreciating volunteers with some meaning and impact, but it still felt like it was missing the mark. What activity or item will make every volunteer feel like they have won the award for volunteer of the year?  What will tell each volunteer that they are truly valued and held in high esteem?  What will have all volunteers feeling more committed to their volunteer activity and to the organization; so much so, they increase their service in hours, significance and impact AND they increase their financial giving to the organization?

What a huge and overwhelming set of criteria to try to meet!  It was this frustration and my love of volunteers that inspired the idea of Celebrate Volunteers.  Celebrate Volunteers was a created as a recognition to volunteers so they feel so valued that they would increase their commitment, service, engagement, impact and financial giving to the organization.

Celebrate Volunteers provides a meaningful and impactful recognition to volunteers when their manager honors them in the Celebration Showcase.  The Celebration Showcase is a platform to publicly tell the story of your volunteer; who they are and the impact of their service, and to thank, appreciate, honor and recognize them for their service. It is the the virtual equivalent of receiving a volunteer of the year award.

The recognition spotlight of your volunteer is shared on website, in our social media, with the local media and with you and your volunteer.  You receive the link to the recognition spotlight to be able to commemorate and share the recognition spotlight in your organization’s website, social media, newsletters, presentations or in any way you would like to enhance the honor for your volunteer.  The volunteer also receives the link, which they are welcome to share, with a congratulatory email and membership in the Celebration community for life. 

Recognize your volunteer at Celebrate Volunteers and you are sharing how important, impactful and valued the volunteer is by your organization with the volunteer, your organization, your community and the world; enhancing the reputation and image of your organization and of all volunteers at the same time, in addition to other benefits to you and your volunteer (spoiler alert:  benefits will be shared in the next blog article – stay tuned).

Each volunteer is a unique individual who volunteers for their own reasons, who brings their special talents and expertise to the service experience and who is a one of a kind personality.  It is these unique qualities that make each volunteer and their impact a valuable part of your organization.  Shouldn’t the recognition you provide your volunteer be just as unique, valuable and meaningful?  Celebrate Volunteers promotes the belief that all who generously donate their time and talents contribute an invaluable service deserving of recognition, thanks, appreciation and honor.  Your recognition must be personalized and meaningful to honor your volunteer and increase their commitment, service, engagement, impact and financial giving to your organization.

This is the vision of Celebrate Volunteers!



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