It is widely acknowledged that a thank you is the most appreciated recognition for a volunteer. In the Cabinet Office’s Helping Out survey, 69% of respondents said a verbal thank you from the organisation was the recognition they wanted.
Remembering to recognise the people who keep your club running is really important, and volunteers should be thanked on an ongoing basis. It’s important that the volunteers who help behind the scenes are thanked too: the person doing grant applications or book-keeping deserves a ‘thank you’ every bit as much as the people who actually run your club sessions.
A ‘thank you’ doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, in fact lots of volunteers are embarrassed by those, and it can be something you work into the planning of all activities at your club. The end of a club session is a natural time to say thank you to your volunteers face-to-face, and events and celebrations that happen throughout the year are also a good opportunity to make sure volunteers get an acknowledgement and a round of applause. You might also be able to give your volunteers a written acknowledgement in the communications your club sends out. A thank you message in a newsletter, website or on your Facebook and Twitter accounts is a great way to show your appreciation.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has some brief tips on thanking volunteers.
Volunteer Scotland also have a good practice guide to recognising and valuing your volunteers:
Awards and certificates are popular ways of recognising volunteers and you could set up your own scheme. For volunteers who really have gone the extra mile and made a special contribution, it’s worth finding out if you can nominate them for any awards that your local county sports partnership (CSP) or national governing body (NGB) run – many CSPs and NGBs do.
There are some very special national awards too for people who have given exceptional service, including the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and BBC Sports Personality of the Year’s Unsung Hero Award.