Volunteer Incentive Ideas

Written by noelle carver
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Volunteer Incentive Ideas
Helping rebuild a damaged home, a volunteer learns social responsibility. (cutting image by Adkok from Fotolia.com)

The generosity and kindness of volunteers can achieve a lot in helping communities heal from disasters, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency website. Volunteers often sign up in order to put to good use their compassion and desire for service. If a potential volunteer questions a project, try using incentives that both encourage and empower her to lend a hand in the effort.

Initiating Change or Improvement

Volunteers gain personal satisfaction and initiate positive change through participation in volunteer projects. Tell potential volunteers for a humanitarian project that, even if it starts small, they are instigating social change in the larger picture. For more community-based, smaller efforts, communicate that volunteers are not interns or unpaid workers but activists helping their community.

Prizes and Giveaways

If you are organising a party, event or conference where you need extra hands, entice volunteers by offering prizes and free stuff. If you need volunteers to help out a local animal shelter for the day, offer small gifts, such as a free T-shirt or gift certificate to especially helpful and energetic volunteers. If the volunteer project is an all-day event, such as a marathon or a school fair, offer free lunch and snacks to volunteers. Also, consider a raffle. Give volunteers with the winning raffle numbers a gift certificate to a local coffee shop or music store.

School Credit

High schools, colleges and universities often seek, or even require, applicants to participate in volunteer work. Community service projects as well as larger scale church missionary work, relief work and environmental preservation missions all may count toward a volunteer service-hour quota. Verify with officials of the prospective volunteer's school that they will accept this volunteer project for credit. Communicate this to the student to bolster enthusiasm for the mission.

Quality Use of Time

Remind volunteers that working on a volunteer project or mission helps them put their experience and skills to use. Speak directly with potential volunteers who are unsure of how they could contribute meaningfully to the volunteer organisation. Communicate that the volunteer's time and skills are vital to the effort and that his participation in the project will help him maximise the group's productivity.

Community Acknowledgment

Ensure a prospective volunteer that she will, on the local or national level, receive acknowledgment for her effort. For example, if you are operating a volunteer network for a community Jewish centre, consider contacting the local JCCA (Jewish Community Center Association) to host an acknowledgment ceremony or send an official letter thanking the volunteers individually. On the national level---such as when working with hurricane relief volunteers---communicate with government agencies such as FEMA to feature the volunteer group's name on the government website or broadcast it in a news report.

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