Valuing Volunteering - Recognition

30 Aug 2017 | Articles

Valuing Volunteering - Recognition

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” William Arthur Ward

Volunteers in Victim Support are the backbone of the Organisation, without them we would struggle to provide a service to victims of crime and sudden trauma. Therefore, volunteer recognition plays a big part in how we both recruit and retain volunteers.

Volunteer recognition begins during the recruitment process where we explore what volunteers are looking for in their volunteer role and overall volunteer experience. It is important that we are flexible by offering interesting and stimulating roles that will hopefully meet volunteer expectations and provide the most satisfaction.

While Victim Support regularly debriefs volunteers on individual cases Victim Support also provides twice yearly, one-on-one supervision for each volunteer through their Service Coordinator. This is a time where volunteers can talk freely about what is working or not working, get feedback and encouragement, and discuss specialisation and further training options. This is an opportunity for the Service Coordinator to also thank volunteers for their individual contribution to Victim Support. It also enables us to discover what motivates a volunteer, and where relevant, providing appropriate recognition.

Each service area has a monthly meeting for its volunteers, where, over a provided supper, training, general upskilling or group supervision takes place. This is also a good time for volunteers to get together in a social setting and bounce ideas off each other especially when managing difficult cases. This gives them a sense of belonging to the organisation and recognition for important work they are doing supporting victims.

Other types of recognition at Victim Support include: -

  • Delivering professional training to enable volunteers to perform their job well. (shortly this will be recognised as credits towards a NZQA qualification)
  • Catching volunteers doing the right thing and letting them know as soon as practicable afterwards
  • Thanking volunteers in a genuine manner, this could be in a verbal form, flowers, a personal letter, long service pin and certificate, personalised birthday card, gift card, mid-winter and Christmas meals with the volunteer’s and their partners.
  • We also acknowledge any bereavements that the volunteers may have had and send a card and flowers
  • Feedback from the volunteers is encouraged and welcomed so that we can improve our services to both the volunteers and the victims
  • Surveying volunteers periodically for their opinions on how to improve services and support of volunteers.

Sarah Binks
Hibiscus Coast Victim Support

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