Rewarding volunteers is another great way to show you appreciate their efforts and support. Your chapter should plan rewards into each volunteer event. In addition, you should reward regular volunteers for returning and continuing to support the site. While most volunteers don’t expect rewards, they are almost always appreciated.
Rewarding your volunteers at a volunteer event can be as simple as providing them with snacks and refreshments while they work. The basic care and feeding of volunteers shows them that you care and are thankful for their time.
Hosting a cookout after a long day of trail cleaning is a great way to reward and thank your volunteers.
Volunteer T-shirts have been produced by Statewide Friends and are available to all chapters free of charge all year long. Giving your volunteers a T-shirt tells them you appreciate them and reminds them of you later.
Giving away door prizes is another great way to award volunteers at your event. Door prizes do not need to be expensive or elaborate. Small trinkets from your site’s gift shop, little baskets of goodies or outdoor gear all make great door prizes. Prizes also generate excitement and good will which is a great way to end a day of hard work.
In addition to simple rewards at events, your chapter should also have a plan to reward long-term volunteers. At a minimum, chapters should participate in the Volunteer Service Nametag program offered by Statewide Friends. In this program, a chapter can order volunteer nametags for any volunteer who has contributed 100 or more lifetime hours. In addition, at major hour milestones, the volunteer can receive a service bar showing the number of hours they have accumulated.
In addition to the nametag program, your chapter may want to consider other progressive rewards such as hats or vests to show your appreciation to volunteers who keep returning.