With increased awareness of climate change, carbon footprint and plastic pollution, another keychain, mug or plastic cup with your business logo might not be the way to go this year when celebrating National Volunteer Week.
Celebrate the volunteers by providing a zero-waste picnics, bbq or brunch that includes the families of the volunteers. Zero-waste is a fun and creative way to bring energy back to the volunteers. There are tons of resources online to get some ideas on how to throw an epic get-together while leaving nothing behind but great memories.
Invite the family and friends of the volunteers. Often volunteers will get feedback from their families and including everyone in the celebrations will create more open communication and transparency. Volunteers make a huge difference, but if their support system isn’t on board, this could create needless tension. Ensure that there are different options based on food allergies and preferences.
Throughout the year, provide plastic-free, fresh fruit to the volunteers. Apples, bananas and clementines are excellent options as they don’t require refrigeration and come in their own packaging.
Reach out to your network and book an experience for your volunteers. From rock climbing to a massage, the possibilities are endless. Some professionals might even provide their services pro-bono with the ability to showcase their expertise, boost their brand awareness and hand out promotional material for their business in a non-sales-pitch way.
Resilience, self-care techniques and journaling training sessions are excellent ways to appreciate employees. Not only will they learn valuable skills for volunteering, but transferable methodologies for everyday life. Book a training session with a professional and provide refreshments for the volunteers. Your business appreciates all aspects of the employees, their mental health and wellness is an important part of keeping them full of positive energy to lend a helping hand.
Create a space where only volunteers can recharge. If it’s not possible to set aside a physical location on a permanent basis, incorporate a lunch room with a schedule that works for volunteers only. It is important for their mental health to have a safe space and connect with other volunteers during their shifts. During volunteer appreciation week, theme the room with different treats (food, messages and self-care journals).
Everyone likes to be appreciated for what they do. Create a wall of recognition and ask the people who they help to write notes on why they love their volunteers. If the volunteers work with animals, post pictures of the animals and do a tiny write-up about each volunteer.
If the volunteers worked to create awareness of a specific project, like a rubbish-walk or beach cleanup, engage the local newspaper, television and bloggers to do a write-up. Involve the volunteers in this endeavour. At the end of the event, provide the volunteers with a gift certificate to the local eco-store or a sustainable meal.
Volunteering is appreciated all year round!