How to reward your volunteers

3 minute read
By the
  • Jun 15th, 2017

Rewarding volunteers enable nonprofit organizations to attract and retain the right volunteers. Volunteers add value to a nonprofit organization. They bring in new experiences, ideas, and connections between an organization and the community. Sustainability and success of a volunteer program is largely dependent on the ability of an organization to celebrate and retain volunteers. Rewarding volunteers helps in maintaining momentum for a nonprofit organization’s project. It’s therefore important that an organization makes volunteers feel really valued by your organization.

Verbal praise

A verbal praise is a very effective motivator. Honest and sincere praise lets volunteers know that the organization appreciates their efforts. It might be a simple act but it has numerous benefits. With few encouraging, positive words, you recognize and even reinforce the desired performance or behavior of volunteers in your organization. If a volunteer feels that your organization recognizes their best efforts, they will most likely continue putting more efforts in their duties.

Additionally, praising volunteers make them feel that your organization values them. By praising a volunteer, you create a positive self image in them. This makes them feel better about themselves. Praise is particularly a good reward in a situation where a volunteer is trying to deliver the best results but they are not sure whether they are actually doing their best. Similarly, if a volunteer is under stress, a few praising words will let them realize that they have done something great in a challenging situation. Nevertheless, even volunteers that perform basic but necessary tasks should be praised.


Another great way of rewarding volunteers is sending them to events or conferences. Ideally, a nonprofit organization can reward volunteers by sending them to an event where they can be trained or motivated. Many volunteers join nonprofit organizations thinking that they know all they need to know to perform their duties. However, this is not the case for all volunteers. Some of them need specialized training to effectively perform their duties in the organization. Usually, most volunteers are trained by volunteers that have been in an organization for a long period or the management of the organization. Nevertheless, sending such volunteers to events where they learn essential skills to perform their duties is a good way to reward them.

In some events, volunteers are encouraged and challenged as they work in nonprofit organizations. Attending such events makes them feel excited and energized to perform their duties more effectively and efficiently in your organization.

Written recommendations

A written recommendation is an important piece for any application. It shows that you have performed certain duties in an organization. Usually, written recommendations come from professionals that have known you well. Basically, these are people that can recommend you for a position that you are applying for. This can be a job or admission into a college. Students for instance are required to produce recommendation letters while applying for most college or university programs. Writing recommendations for volunteers is therefore a great way to reward them.

Ideally, your recommendations should indicate the duties that the volunteers performed in your organization. It should also explain how the volunteer performed those duties. Did they require supervision to perform the duties? Were they punctual? Was your organization satisfied with their performance? Can your organization recommend them for positions that come with similar duties? Ideally, a volunteer recommendation should show how a volunteer contributed to the operations or success of your organization.

Basically, these are some of the most effective ways of rewarding volunteers. They increase volunteer loyalty while enhancing their performance. Using these methods to reward volunteer can also attract more volunteers to your organization once people realize how your nonprofit organization rewards volunteers.

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