Virtual Volunteer Appreciation, Volunteer Schedules, Volunteer Applications, and More! | Track It Forward

Virtual Volunteer Appreciation, Volunteer Schedules, Volunteer Applications, and More!

Written by Kasey Murphy

Volunteer Coordinator Resource Community TWO Week Recap: February 24 - March 8

Topics Discussed: Volunteer Appreciation, Volunteer Scheduling, Volunteer Applications, Volunteer Distribution, Parent / Guardian volunteer forms, and Volunteer Distribution

If you are wondering what the Volunteer Coordinator Resource Community is, check it out here! 

Over the past two weeks, a lot of volunteer coordinators have participated in different conversations within the Facebook Group, which is wonderful! It is so great to see volunteer coordinators coming together through a variety of scenarios. 

Oftentimes, it is easy for a topic to duplicate itself in different formats and points of view. This has especially been the case for Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Week / Month / Events. The topic of virtual volunteer appreciation is no stranger to this Facebook group and volunteer coordinators everywhere, in fact - we have written a few recaps for the community about Virtual Volunteer Appreciation! 

We thought a great way to kick off the recap would be to showcase the different angles of virtual volunteer appreciation topics and posts we have gotten over the past two weeks! 

Would like to know what you are all doing for Volunteer appreciation week as gifts?

Volunteer Appreciation month is coming up.  How do you calculate your awards?  I think we should honor those by most hours per year but my boss wants to do it by lifetime accumulation.

I want to get the opinions and views of our volunteers on Reward & Recognition. Was planning a short survey as want to see if a virtual event over Zoom or similar is feasible. Don't want to put lots of time and energy into something that is a non-starter.
Any examples of a short survey or any thoughts welcome

If you would like to see more about Volunteer Appreciation Gifts - check out this post! 

Many of the comments included suggestions like: 

  • “We're making a thank you video for our volunteers highlighting the work they've done!”

  • “I am trying to convince the powers that be to let us buy annual passes to our state parks.”

  • “Customized labeled chapstick with a cute note saying: “You are the Balm!””

  • “A virtual party with games, guest speakers, a raffle with gift baskets made by the staff. “

If you would like to see more about Volunteer Appreciation Awards and Calculating Awards - check out this post! 

Volunteer Hours and time spent volunteering are of course great ways to give out awards, but there are other things you can recognize as well! Here are some examples: 

  • “At my organization, we do both! Honors for most hours by volunteer role per year, total lifetime hours, and also a number of years served regardless of hours. They all deserve to be recognized”

  • “I believe in recognizing multiple types of service - for years and for hours. Recognition for one year of service goes a long way in retaining those volunteers. Recognition for 5, 10, etc. years. In the hours category, I give recognition for 10, 25, 50, and 100 hours of service as well as an award for most hours that year. A lifetime achievement award could fit in too.”

  • “Time isn't the only way to recognize, how about the volunteer who raised our spirits, or went beyond the call of duty, or received fantastic feedback from a member of the public etc.? That way you can include and recognize a greater variety of ways your vols contribute. A vol can turn up but not actually do as much or have as much impact as some others.”

Do you have more to add or want to see more comments? Check out the post!

If you are uncertain how much your volunteers would appreciate awards, check out this post for some methods to determine how much effort to put into Volunteer Appreciation Awards. 

It might seem a bit odd to ask volunteers if they would like to be recognized for their work or if they would like to schedule an event to do so, but sometimes it is necessary to determine how much volunteers will appreciate these events before putting time, money, and effort into them. 

Some great ways to ask volunteers these questions could be anonymously through services like Mailchimp, Google Docs, Emails, or polls on social media! 

If you have experienced this type of situation with your volunteers and appreciation, comment on the post to tell us about it! 

If you are interested in hosting Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Week Trivia or have hosted a virtual trivia event before - check out this post! 

Virtual events are no joke, they can be quite tough to organize and create, check out the advice from those who have done it before to showcase volunteer appreciation! 

  • “We did trivia on ZOOM, we posted on our volunteer page that we were having it and everyone interested had to RSVP, we had about 20 people despite having hundreds of volunteers. It was great, as it happened earlier on in the pandemic, so it was the 1st time many saw each other. We had 4 rounds-1 Shelter trivia, 2-Staff, 3-Cat/Dog Facts, 4-Volunteer. Then we had a volunteer tally up. It was lots of fun! We did it again, a few months later.”

  • “We did zoom trivia for our volunteer appreciation event in January. It was really fun but a LOT of work to get the tech worked out, divide teams, do scoring, etc. We wanted to do trivia specific to our organization, but if I did it again I would go through one of the paid online trivia companies rather than DIY'ing it. Happy to share more if you'd like.”

  • “Kahoot was a big hit with some of our senior volunteers! We only paid for a month and made our own trivia questions.”

Virtual volunteer appreciation events are usually a great way to boost volunteer morale, and provide a fun time for your volunteers to show that you appreciate them! But, you should definitely get some advice from those who have done it before trying to kick it off by yourself. 

There are a lot of different things to consider for volunteer appreciation, especially when it comes to Volunteer Appreciation Week! Check out some more resources below! 



Scheduling Volunteers 

Our next topic of concern deals with volunteers not attending events or shifts like they are supposed to, or not responding to email reminders. It is important to have volunteers that you can count on! 

More and more, I'm struggling with getting volunteers to stick to their schedules. This problem really got worse in the last few months, I think because I was working remotely and not around to check in, but it has been an issue for awhile regardless. 
I've tried emailing reminders, asking and reminding folks, but they nod along in agreement, it's in our handbook that they sign off on, and then I stop by their area and find a surprise visit! I have spoken with area leads as well, but I think they are a little nervous to come off as harsh for fear of losing the volunteers. I am definitely willing to revisit that option. 
What has worked for you? Thanks!

We think it would be a great idea for volunteers to RSVP to events and to meet a volunteer requirement or quota in order to receive an incentive! It is a great way to be able to schedule dependable volunteers and motivate them to stick to their schedule! Let’s see what the comments have to say! 

  • “Have you asked them why they don't stick with their schedules? Do they not know their schedules? Do they dislike the work? Are they too busy? I think you need to know the problem before you can fix it.”

  • “Can you loop in some of the leader volunteers and ask them to help find solutions- perhaps they're hearing grumbling that doesn't get to you? I'd also recommend helping people understand the impact of not sticking to the schedule- does this impact mission delivery?”

  • “Sounds like you need to ask them if this is something they actually want to be doing. Sometimes they are burned out. In a pandemic, volunteers have been hard to recruit and retain.”

If you would like to read more comments about this topic, or give your own advice - comment here! 

Resources For Scheduling Volunteers 



Volunteer Applications 

Many organizations create different types of volunteer applications in order to accept volunteers. This is a great idea for gatekeeping your volunteer program to types of volunteers that your really need, as well as gathering volunteer information! 

The topic of volunteer applications comes up quite often in the Volunteer Coordinator Resource Community - so this idea was perfect! 

Hi Everyone! Can we start a volunteer application thread? Drop a link to your Volunteer Application in the comments. If you have adjusted your application due to COVID-19, feel free to add explanation or context as well.

To follow along with the volunteer application thread, or to see other volunteer program’s volunteer applications - click here! 



Too Many Volunteers? 

It seems to be a bit of a problem that is rare these days, in the pandemic, but for some organizations, volunteers are more committed than ever. And, those organizations that previously had not allowed volunteers over a certain age due to COVID, are now faced with those same volunteers wanting to come back because they have been vaccinated. 

As more volunteers become vaccinated, it is important that you consider how to transition back into a full-fledged volunteer program again, with all volunteers feeling involved. 

Hi group! I am the Volunteer Coordinator at a soup kitchen. We are starting to see a problem, and I know it's going to sound silly because the problem is that we have too many volunteers. However, it is a problem and I am hoping some of you have some experience navigating this situation.
Due to the nature of our soup kitchen, we have several church organizations that have

Advice on Volunteer Distribution From The Comments 

  • “Are there other organizations like yours that need people? If you can say that other soup kitchens or food shelters really need leaders like them, it would help any feelings of hurt. I would also say how grateful you are for their time to your organization and try to mix it up between the groups more frequently so people will stop thinking of the others as “others”. Can you guarantee some days as older volunteers, some as newer and some as mixed?”

  • “That's tricky, but there may still be more shuffling among your current volunteers as things open up and people decide to pursue other things. I would be careful not to alienate your previous volunteers because you may need them. If there's some way to build community between the "before covid" volunteers and your current volunteers, that may help. Would there be a way to create opportunities for them to work together? Pair up people? I would think people who have been isolated for a year are desperate for social interaction and what better way than to work with someone new?”

  • “I agree with the above suggestions and would add, are there any other things you can have volunteers do? You said many of these are church groups? What about starting a time of prayer that can be lead by volunteers? Maybe you can pull together a group of more experienced volunteers to review policies and the way you currently run the program? They probably have some great suggestions for improvement. How about fund raising? Maybe some could help with that?”

To view all of the helpful comments, check out the post here! 



Parent / Guardian Volunteer Release Forms 

We have also had two inquiries about parent release forms and parent consent forms for minors who wish to volunteer. Teen volunteers or minor volunteers are a great addition to any volunteer program, but it is always important to abide by laws and regulations to ensure safety for minors while they are in your hands! 

Currently not requiring a parental consent form for teens or special needs volunteers who have a legal guardian. Are you using one and if so, can you share some content?

Does anyone have a release form that they have the parents of guardians of a minor who is volunteering sign?

If you would like to comment or see any of the other comments on these posts, the links are below! 




Thank you to all Volunteer Coordinators for your continuous hard work throughout the pandemic, and always! Continue to post in the Volunteer Coordinator Resource Community for questions and concerns, as well as support from fellow Volunteer Coordinators!