As organizations that heavily rely on volunteers, recognition is key for associations to maintain and grow their volunteer communities. National Volunteer Week, a celebration that recognizes the impact of volunteer service, is a great opportunity for associations to show appreciation to the people who help keep them running.
Most associations already spotlight their volunteers at annual conferences or on social media – here are three creative ways that Smithbucklin clients are saying thank you during National Volunteer Week and beyond.
One of the ways Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP) chose to thank its volunteers this year was through a homemade, grassroots video launched via email and social media during National Volunteer Week. The video, mimicking a popular scene from the movie “Love Actually,” was created to share with and thank all of FICP’s volunteers – with FICP staff as the video talent.
Like many other organizations, Applied Client Network (ACN) uses branded swag to show appreciation to its volunteers and maintain a sense of community. ACN frequently sent appreciation gift boxes to its volunteers pre-pandemic, but when COVID-19 hit, the organization upped the amount of gifts to sustain the engagement and strong sense of unity within its volunteer community in lieu of in-person celebrations.
During its virtual conference in 2020, ACN sent attendees a COVID-19 survival kit with branded hand sanitizer, masks, and a no-touch door opener. During ACN’s Virtual Connect, each member received a gift box with coffee, a branded French press, and a double-wall glass coffee cup. Food and drink was also the theme in 2021, when ACN gifted its volunteers with bottles of wine, a mini champagne bottle, wine glasses, a bottle opener, and a meat and cheese plate with a branded board.
Other organizations choose to highlight their volunteers by focusing on individual member spotlights. At least once a quarter, The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (I.C.E.) showcases one of its members in Credentialing Insights, the organization’s online journal. The spotlights include information about the members’ involvement in I.C.E., the impact the organization has had on their career, and their personal keys to success in the credentialing industry. Members appreciate the peer-to-peer recognition and find it beneficial to learn from other thought leaders in their industry.
I.C.E. also spotlights its volunteers with its annual I.C.E. Awards, which acknowledges individuals who have demonstrated innovative leadership in the industry or have demonstrated outstanding commitment or service to I.C.E. After the award-winners have been announced and recognized at the annual conference, I.C.E. features in-depth articles on the winners, sharing information about their background, journey within I.C.E., and advice for future leaders.
Georgie Seago is in the Corporate Marketing unit at Smithbucklin.