How to celebrate National Volunteer Week Virtually

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the day-to-day lives of all Canadians. Health care workers, emergency managers and frontline staff are working tirelessly to provide essential services during this time of crisis. Many Canadians are self-isolating or practicing social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus.

This has led to many events, including celebrations of volunteers, being cancelled to protect the public. However, volunteer recognition isn’t just about events. There are plenty of ways to recognize your volunteers and celebrate their efforts without gathering in person.

Here are our 10 ways you can virtually applaud your volunteers and celebrate National Volunteer Week:

1 – Give a shout-out to your volunteers on social media. You can highlight individuals, teams or projects that have helped further your mission.

2 – Email your volunteers a personalized thank you that highlights the impact of their individual contributions.

3 – Find out your volunteers’ language of recognition so you can plan meaningful recognition activities throughout the year.

4 – Write a reference letter for a volunteer who is applying for a job, internship or school program.

5 – Add a questionnaire to your onboarding process to gather information about volunteers’ motivations and preferences so you can tailor their roles and how you recognize them where possible.

6 – Gather thank you messages from your clients and pass them on to the volunteers who have made a difference in their lives.

7 – Nominate a superstar volunteer for a local or national award to formally recognize their efforts.

8 – Bring your volunteers together on an email chain or communications platform so they can virtually socialize with each other while practicing social distance.

9 – We don’t always see volunteers in action. Ask volunteers to share stories about their fellow volunteers. Are they constantly impressed by someone’s positive attitude? Have they seen a fellow volunteer diffuse a challenging situation?

10 – Start a private group on social media and invite volunteers, staff and community members to join. Set a time to gather for a virtual party and share videos, images and stories about the impact volunteers have had.

Above all, customize your volunteer recognition to the individual. Everyone is different, so while one volunteer may like public or formal recognition, others may not. And whatever you do – be sincere and authentic when you applaud your volunteers for all they do. #NVW2020