•	Recognition Ideas

Informal Recognition
Many literacy volunteers report that informal recognition is very meaningful to them. Here are some ideas you may want to try:

  • Send thank-you notes to volunteers
  • Send a copy to their family
  • For young people, send a note to their parents
  • Give tokens of appreciation (pins, mugs, etc.)
  • Have a display board in the office highlighting volunteer accomplishments
  • Have photos of volunteers displayed
  • Send birthday cards
  • Offer social opportunities (pot luck dinners, etc.)
  • Hold a fun workshop for volunteers (True Colours, crafts, etc.)
  • Donate a book to the public library with the volunteer's name inscribed in it
  • Give volunteers one of the following: pen; mug; cap; t-shirt; daybook; bumper sticker; calendar; key ring; mouse pad; greeting card; refrigerator magnet; poster; ribbon; lapel pin
  • Develop post-it notes printed with "thank-you" messages
  • Give volunteers a book bag with a copy of a classic book for specific years of service
  • Send a tea bag and permission to NOT attend a formal event but to instead put their feet up and relax at home!

Formal Recognition
Formal recognition also has a place in recognition practices and can include such activities as:

  • Hold a recognition banquet
  • Hold a tea or other special event for volunteers
  • Hold a summer picnic for volunteers
  • Honour volunteers at the Annual General Meeting
  • Give recognition in the annual report
  • Give certificates of accomplishment
  • Formally recognize length of service
  • Hold a special event or activity during National Volunteer Week
  • Have your volunteers recognized under the Ministry of Citizenship’s Volunteer Awards initiative

Ideas to Celebrate Collective Volunteer Accomplishments

  • Collect volunteer stories and photos and compile these  in a book
  • Hold a theatrical production with a literacy volunteer theme
  • Plant a tree in the name of the organization's volunteers
  • Plant a volunteer rose garden
  • Create a volunteer quilt
  • Collect quotes from volunteers and post these on your website or other promotional material
  • Create a photo collage of your volunteers in your office
  • Profile various volunteers on your website
  • Compose a skit or a song to celebrate your volunteers

Web 2.0 and Volunteer Recognition
Web 2.0 technologies give literacy agencies many new ways to recognize their volunteers. Typically, these technologies are easy to use, free and fun. Here are some ideas to try.

  • You could create an online photo collage of your volunteers using Flickr
  • If your organization has a Facebook page, you could profile a “volunteer of the week” on your site
  • For more information on Web 2.0 technologies, please see the “Technology” section of the Getting Online website

Links to other websites

Many volunteer organizations have web pages with creative ideas for recognizing volunteers; here are a few to get you started:

Volunteer Canada’s webpage of creative ideas for recognition

The Ontario Volunteer Centre Network and Volunteer Canada’s “Have We Thanked the Volunteers?”

Best practice ideas submitted by readers to Energize (a website for leaders of volunteers)

Recognition tips and Ways’ to say thank-you from the Virtual Volunteer Resource Centre