Do Your Volunteers Feel Appreciated?

Sun, Apr 26, 2015 at 11:45AM

volunteer recognition

Individuals’ reactions to recognition of their volunteer activity depends on characteristics associated with their personality types.

Different personalities naturally respond in different ways. Therefore, depending on the individual, your attempt to motivate could have the opposite effect.

Have you ever considered the possibility that your well-intentioned recognition of volunteers might not be as well-received as you assumed?

Because April is volunteer appreciation month, let’s give this some thought.

The importance of recognition is Volunteer 101, as everyone who leads volunteers knows. Of equal importance is being certain your appreciation is suited to the recipient.

Individuals’ reactions to recognition of their volunteer activity depends on characteristics associated with their personality types.

Different personalities naturally respond in different ways. Therefore, depending on the individual, your attempt to motivate could have the opposite effect.

To take just two examples, if someone is a shy type, a public display of appreciation could be a source of embarrassment. On the other hand, for an outgoing personality, a lack of celebratory attention might be a huge disappointment.

In both situations, the volunteer doesn’t get the benefit of the all-important–and appropriate–recognition. And if a volunteer doesn’t feel appreciated, he or she often heads for the door.

Nonprofit leaders and volunteer coordinators: take the time to know your volunteers and their personalities.

Customize your methods of showing gratitude.

Interact personally to determine what type of recognition is not only the most effective but is actually preferred.

You may further your insights into your volunteers with the use of personality assessments. Having the benefit of more in-depth knowledge of individuals’ traits will help you identify motivational methods that will produce positive responses.

Retaining volunteers is a challenge; it is indeed ironic that action meant to show how much their service is valued could actually contribute to their departure.

Before blindly handing out recognition or tokens of appreciation, first be certain that your efforts to praise and motivate will inspire continued and enthusiastic involvement.


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Barry Banther | best practices | burnout | communication | creativity | customer service | effective communication | governance | listening | nonprofit boards | nonprofits | organizational performance | personalities | positive leadership | recognition | recruitment | Ruby Newell-Legner | Simone Joyaux | teamwork | volunteer and board cultivation | volunteers |