Working with Volunteers

Get Involved: Central Okanagan Style | International Volunteers Day | International Volunteer Managers Day | Mailing List | National Volunteer Week | Professional Support | Recognition Ideas for Volunteers | Workshops & Training

KCR - Working with Volunteers

Volunteer sector services supported in part by:
United Way of the Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen - logo

Get Involved: Central Okanagan Style

International Volunteers Day

International Volunteer Day is a global celebration of volunteers. It takes place every year on December 5 to shine a light on the impact of volunteer efforts everywhere.

Find out more at Volunteer Canada

International Volunteer Managers Day

International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMD) takes place on November 5. Nan Hawthorne, a volunteer management professional based in the United States, founded the event in 1999. Managers of volunteers work hard to make sure volunteer programs run smoothly. They care about keeping volunteers fulfilled and engaged.

Find out more at Volunteer Canada

Mailing List

National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week 2019
National Volunteer Week (NVW), April 7-13, 2019, is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. This year's theme is: The Volunteer Factor – Lifting Communities.

The Volunteer Factor celebrates and recognizes the exponential impact of volunteers and how they lift our communities. The beautiful image of the hot air balloons of different sizes, shapes and colours reflects the diversity of community volunteers. It illustrates that when people volunteer together, the sky is the limit, in terms of what they can achieve.

Future National Volunteer Week dates:
  • April 19-25, 2020
  • April 18-24, 2021

Find out more at Volunteer Canada

Professional Support

Helpful websites:
View some of our helpful support guides for Volunteer Managers

Volunteer Recognition Ideas

Research by Volunteer Canada encourages us to think differently about how organizations recognize volunteers.

I remember greeting a volunteer by name, with a big smile and a brief touch on the arm. She went quiet, looked at me and said. ‘That is the first human touch I have had this week.’ – It was Friday.

Ideas from the Nonprofit Community
  • We host an annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner which features 6-8 volunteers at the dinner. We have up to 80 volunteers attend our annual dinner and hold the dinner during the National Volunteer Week.
  • We send out personal thank you's for all of the hard work and dedication they provide when performing specific tasks.
  • Ongoing training during the year to keep our volunteers current to the programs and clients they are working with.
  • I received a personal phone call from the executive director thanking me for my volunteer services.
  • I received a free art workshop on basic drawing
  • I receive one or two 100 hour volunteer pins each year
  • I volunteered for community May Day and received a special thank you from a grade one student.
  • Individualized and personalized thank you cards that come with a $5 gift card to our local, wonderful coffee shop.
  • The role itself is simple, but I learn so much through it and love the environment! A thoughtfully written personalized thank you card!
  • Warm up your winter: in January we held a drop-in evening to come enjoy a bowl of soup with other volunteers (3 types of soup)
  • Junior Auxiliary: a child receives a badge or a tie; Parent Advisory Committee President received acknowledgment/thank you from the school principal
  • Volunteered for Fat Cat Children’s Festival: 8-month commitment celebrated the committee with houseboat tour and BBQ
  • Organizing a Christmas hamper: meeting with a beautiful family who received it and seeing their gratitude.
  • Serving breakfast at a homeless shelter: the individuals told me that the breakfast I served them made their day. I felt part of a team.
  • My memorable moment volunteer recognition was receiving the civic award for Community Volunteer in Peachland for working with the two choirs, seniors choir and intergenerational choir of seniors and K-1 split classes.
  • Working with Corrections Canada many years ago, a man needed a ride to Penticton for methadone treatment. The coordinator couldn’t find anyone who wanted to take him due to his high-risk nature. I decided to do it anyway and had an amazing talk with him. His appreciation was very meaningful and the coordinator’s thanks was through a certificate.
  • Personal recognition throughout the year!
  • Having volunteers being recognized for their work by staff outside of their supervisor. This shows them that they are appreciated for the work they do by others.
  • Sending out detailed thank you cards for specific instances in the work they do, rather than a generic thank you card.
  • Having pins for volunteers after completing a certain amount of hours would be a great way to thank volunteers and show them their dedication.
  • I love 'giving back' to my volunteers. I show my appreciation by understanding their goals for their volunteer position, as well for other aspects of their life. Then I find ways that I can give back to each one individually.
  • I like to share how their contributions have really helped our Community Services departments projects or workshops. My volunteers are genuinely interested in knowing how they make a difference.

Best Practices
  • Make it year-round.
  • Thank volunteers in-person, sincerely, and on an ongoing basis.
  • Tell them how they have made a difference.
  • Try ideas that build on volunteer motivations and preferences.
  • Develop volunteer positions that use or develop their skills.
  • Try a variety of ideas, even customize some for different volunteers.
  • Enhance events with training, networking and celebration.
  • Bring staff and volunteers together (include board members).
  • Ensure volunteers feel welcome.

Workshops & Training

View our upcoming workshops

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