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Friday, 17 May 2013

The Importance of Acknowledging Volunteers

Volunteers are regarded as the backbone of many charity and non-charity events in the UK and Volunteers’ Week is a perfect opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work carried out by them as well as launch new volunteering campaigns to attract new people to help out.
All of the main volunteering umbrella bodies within the UK – Volunteering England, Volunteering Wales, Volunteer Scotland and Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) – participate in Volunteers’ Week which takes place from 1st to 7th June.
It’s hugely important that volunteers are recognized as they make an invaluable contribution to the third sector. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to consider the best ways of acknowledging volunteers.
Social Events – There’s no better way to show your appreciation than organizing a social event with the whole team and even their family members. It’s a simple yet effective way of encouraging team bonding and also provides you with the opportunity to find out more about the volunteers and their motivations and goals. It’s always important to build strong working relationships with your volunteers, especially if they’re part of a wider team in which some members of the workforce are paid and others unpaid.     
Be Flexible – Listen to the needs of your volunteers and respond positively to them. Each volunteer is different and will be able to offer varying levels of commitment to your project – don’t display any preference to those who can make a greater commitment. If a volunteer’s personal circumstances change, always ensure that you can adapt to that and maintain a strong and open working relationship with them.   
Make Note of Their Contribution – It’s a nice touch to keep track of volunteers’ individual contributions. Consequently, this makes it much easier when it comes to reviewing their progress in staff appraisals. It’s also a good way of keeping track of any long-term goals they may have as a volunteer and seeing whether or not you can work around that to provide them with the tools they need to develop.  
You should always ensure that you’re getting the most out of your volunteer workforce. The most sensible approach is to do so with bespoke software tailored to your needs. Custom-made software can help with both major and minor staffing issues such as employee scheduling and workforce management. Specific bespoke packages such as sports event management software and volunteer management software are designed to have the capability to help you manage volunteering events of various types and scales, resulting in a well co-ordinated and productive volunteer workforce.    

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