Retention and Recognition

At its most basic level, volunteer recognition is about noticing the efforts made by volunteers then acknowledging - in a way that is meaningful to them - that you have noticed.

Recognition can be as formal as an award at a volunteer banquet; or as simple as a handwritten note of thanks. Volunteers can be recognized for outstanding achievements, milestones of service, their unique abilities and skills, or a particular contribution they have made to your organization.

There are no limits to the number of ways literacy agencies can acknowledge the contributions made by volunteers, but the key to effective recognition is to make it meaningful to the volunteer(s) you wish to acknowledge. This requires an understanding of what motivates your volunteers. Careful attention during the intake process, as well as during ongoing support efforts should allow literacy agencies to gather the information they need to give effective recognition to any volunteer.

CLO’s recent research indicates that literacy agencies in Ontario are doing an excellent job of acknowledging the contributions of their volunteers. Over 90% of the volunteers surveyed in 2005 indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with how they were being recognized.  It is important, however, when working with volunteers to keep recognition efforts in the forefront.

CLO has developed this simple checklist for assessing recognition practices within your agency. Spending a few minutes completing this task may help you identify areas in which you can improve.

CLO Volunteer Recognition Assessment Form

Do we…

Have a policy that addresses volunteer recognition?

Have a process for volunteer recognition?

Review our recognition practices each year?

Identify each volunteer’s recognition preferences as part of the intake process?

Tailor our recognition practices to the motivations and interests of each volunteer?

Ask volunteers if they are satisfied with the recognition they receive (e.g. as part of the performance review)?

Make a point of budgeting annually for volunteer recognition?