Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Techniques and Other Volunteer Retention Topics | Track It Forward

Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Techniques and Other Volunteer Retention Topics

Written by Kasey Murphy

Volunteer Coordinator Resource Community Weekly Recap September 14-21

As Virtual Volunteering has become more of a norm, many volunteer coordinators find themselves wondering how they can showcase their appreciation for volunteers stepping up in a different way. 

Whether virtual volunteering was something instilled specifically for COVID-19 or you had it in place prior, it has become vital in these times for many nonprofit organizations and volunteer programs to continue existing. 

Virtual Volunteering is a great way for organizations to recruit and retain volunteers during a shelter in place orders, quarantines, and for organizations that need to be COVID-Cautious. If you are looking for ways to incorporate virtual volunteering into your program, check out this article. 

This week, the Volunteer Coordinator Resource Community had some questions about showing appreciation for these virtual volunteers. Specifically, what are different ways to hold a Virtual Volunteer Appreciation event? This actually was a topic covered in March / April in the group, but many people are now more involved in virtual volunteering and are wondering how to showcase their appreciation for virtual volunteers. Hi everyone, very excited to have found and become a part of this group! I'm a Volunteer Coordinator at an education non-profit in Boston. We have 200 volunteers that do walking tours focused on history and architecture (or at least... used to). One thing I would LOVE to hear about is whether anyone in this group has planned or held any virtual volunteer appreciation events. Our

With this post, many people were directed to an original post in March that had many comments on virtual volunteer appreciation events.

Does anyone have tips or ideas to share about doing a VIRTUAL Volunteer Appreciation Week for close to 2000 volunteers? So, not just ways to keep them engaged, but ways to celebrate and thank them. Let's brainstorm together!
ETA: We typically do small gifts as well as a different activity and meal/treat each day of Volunteer Appreciation Week, but COVID-19 has nixed those this year. We’re trying to figure out how to create a video with snippets from staff and referral agencies thanking our volunteers, but this is tricky with social distancing in place (not to mention varying degrees of tech ability among these people!).
Besides the following that we already do, what else could we do virtually to celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week since we can’t meet in person?
· volunteer spotlight on social media every few weeks
· monthly volunteer newsletter
· hand-written Thank You notes to all first-time volunteers
· birthday and special cards (e-cards and/or physical cards) for all volunteers
· wall of volunteer photos
· name tags in varying colors depending on hours served
· organizational and President's Volunteer Service Awards presented twice annually

Here are some Comments On Virtual Volunteer Appreciation

  • Virtual Happy Hour

  • Give discounts to certain take-out or stores! 

  • “We had window clings made, but I’m not sure about mailing anything right now.”

  • Create a video to share on facebook / social media and have a virtual watch party

  • Virtual Walking Tours

If you have had a Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event or are having any ideas for one, please comment on the most recent post here! 

Resources For Virtual Volunteer Appreciation

Another question that surfaced in our Volunteer Coordinator Resource Community was regarding volunteers and donors. Some organizations may be hoping that their volunteers become donors in certain situations, but how exactly do you get your volunteers to become donors?

Let’s check out what this post had to say. 

Does anyone have any resources on converting volunteers into donors? Open to webinars, blog posts, articles, etc. Thanks!

Resources For Converting Volunteers Into Donors 

If you have any insight on how your organization has converted volunteers into donors before, please comment here and let us know! 

And lastly, we know that many programs have had to place volunteers in an inactive status during COVID. Almost all volunteer programs will have to handle a juggling act with inactive and active volunteers throughout their program beyond COVID. 

Hi All, does anyone have any tips for inactive volunteer retention during COVID? I work as a volunteer coordinator for a museum and we have a lot of 65+ volunteers that can't come in right now. I'm looking for ways to keep them engaged with the museum until we can welcome them back. Any thoughts?

We think you should have a definitive process for marking volunteers as inactive or permanently gone, just to keep everything organized! Let’s see what the comments have to say. 

Comments on Managing Inactive Volunteers During COVID

  • “I have lots of volunteers that choose to be on hiatus due to covid. I do several Zoom meetings including a virtual happy hour and a book discussion.”

  • “I’ve been sending out newsletters, running little trivia contests and awarding raffle winners with prizes shipped to their homes. They love the newsletters - you could include info about the museum or little fun facts, cartoons, etc.”

  • “we do a monthly enrichments on zoom with a guest speaker, as well as a monthly volunteer newsletter.”

  • “I have been creating more e learning packages, offering zoom training, monthly zoom forums and a kaizala chat group. Basically using as many different means of communication to make them feel connected while they are away from their placement. I also try to have a catch up call every couple of months.”

So, what do you do with volunteers who are not actively involved? Do you keep them updated, or let them be? Let us know here! 

Resources For Handling Inactive Volunteers