- Author: Marisa A Coyne
Effective volunteer recognition is crucial to volunteer retention efforts. Volunteer recognition can take a variety of shapes and forms; some volunteers respond well to a recognition of years of service or number of hours donated, while others may prefer a project leadership opportunity. Offering a personal or professional reference detailing a volunteer's contributions to the program, on the part of a program coordinator or volunteer leader, can be a great way to show some volunteers their work is valued. Still others may appreciate a handwritten note or a simple thank you in person.
Use National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to test your ideas and see what resonates within your volunteer community.
Here are a few suggestions to help get you started:
- Consider submitting a volunteer project to the Search for Excellence (SFE), a statewide competition designed to recognize outstanding UC Master Gardener projects that support the mission of UC Master Gardener Program.
- Use the UC Master Gardener Program Green Thumb Award to recognize individual achievements and contributions.
- Visit the Volunteer Management Institute (VMI) webpage on the UC Master Gardener Coordinator website for ideas regarding recognition across the generations.
- Check out the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA)'s one-pager on Volunteer Recognition Ideas.
- Check your peers' suggestions (recorded during our Breakout Session) in the VMI Generations - Coordinator breakout notes.
- Attend the March 19th 2020, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Coordinator-to-Coordinator Zoom Discussion hosted and facilitated by Mimi Enright, Program Coordinator in Sonoma County. Experienced in client relations and program management, Mimi's approach to volunteer recognition goes beyond once-per-year appreciation events. Bring your questions and suggestions for fellow coordinators.
- View the Building Volunteer Engagement e-course handouts and materials on the eXtension platform. The "Let's Measure Up" handout contains a set of guiding questions to help you evaluate your county's volunteer recognition efforts. Access the eXtension course login instructions on the UC ANR Learning and Development site (under Office and Team Management >> Engaging Volunteers).
- Nominate one or more extraordinary volunteers for recognition in the UC Master Gardener Program 2019 Annual Report. Use the Gardeners with Heart Nomination Form to nominate any volunteer in your county who uses their creativity, strategic thinking, problem-solving, passion for mission, or commitment to outreach to improve program delivery at the local level. Be sure to include photos! More information is available on the UC Master Gardener Coordinator Collaborative Tools page.
What volunteer recognition strategies have worked for you in the past? What new approaches will you try in 2020? Share your recommendations with fellow coordinators via the UC Master Gardener Coordinator Collaborative Tools page.
Marisa A. Coyne
Volunteer Engagement Coordinator