The Show Must Go On!
Meeting Needs in the “New Normal”
For some of us, volunteers are the lifeline of our service delivery as we partner them to bring much-needed services to those who would need them. And this is expected to be more so, even as Singapore plans to exit the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker and Social Service Agencies (SSAs) strategize to navigate the “new normal”, to reach and help those in our community who may be more in need of support because of the pandemic.
No Cancellations Needed
But with safe distancing measures in place, volunteer appreciation budgets set and planning already underway, how do we continue to appreciate our volunteers under circumstances? Do we cancel our volunteer appreciation events and risk losing our non-salaried care partners on our team?
In a recent blog post by Wild Apricot, they highlighted 5 simple steps to host a virtual appreciation week and we could perhaps take a leaf out of the well-written article. We have reviewed and done up a super-condensed version of the 5 steps and included some of our points below:
- Choose – Brainstorm activities with consideration of the budget you have and what would be considered as desirable by your volunteers e.g. personal/professional development learning events, discounts, games, food deliveries (we love this idea) etc. Do a poll if necessary. You can check out the complete list in the article here.
- Set – Decide on the date of the appreciation event/week, ensuring there is enough runway for you to plan and coordinate.
- Excite – Create some buzz to excite people about it through social media, teasers, websites, blogs, emails, newsletters etc.
- Launch – Get the appreciation event/week going!
- Recap – Create and upload a highlights video, thank people and invite them to join in the fun next year
There you have it. No cancellations and definitely an innovative way to help your volunteers know you are still looking out for them and that their contributions are well noted and celebrated by you and your organization.
Showing the Impact
Speaking about well-noting their contributions, take the opportunity to also lend some weight to your appreciation by also helping existing volunteers, prospective volunteers, staff, management and stakeholders to fully appreciate volunteers’ impact by highlighting them. There’s no more powerful way than to show data of how participating in the volunteer programme has impacted service users, themselves, staff and your SSA.
We have recently concluded a strategic volunteer partnerships impact assessment project and found that volunteers, in predominantly volunteer-run programmes, bring about positive impact including:
- Service users’ life satisfaction
- Service users’ moods
- Service users’ social relationships and connectedness
- Service users’ view of the outside world
- Service users’ belief in being able to reach out
- Service users’ motivation to help others
- Service users’ perceived accessibility of services
- Volunteers’ acquisition of lifeskills (perceived)
- Volunteers’ well-being (perceived)
- Volunteers’ positive attitude towards volunteering and helping
- Staff’s work performance (perceived)
- Organization’s capacity and capability (perceived)
- Organization’s ability to provide services relevant to the community (perceived)
It is indeed encouraging to see the impact volunteers make. This, together with existing data we may already collect on our volunteers’ satisfaction with their volunteering experience, will indeed provide richer insights as we celebrate our volunteers.
Begin to assess the impact of strategic volunteer partnerships in your organization with our free Volunteer Partnerships Impact Assessment (VPIA) toolkit or join in our VPIA workshop.
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James is the Lead Thrive-Synergist & Founder of Emmaus Strategies; a social enterprise that “fuels good”. It does this through Mental Well-Being programmes for individuals and organizations, as well as Strategic Volunteer Partnerships consultancy and training for non-profits.