Volunteer Recognition

Recognising the contribution volunteers make to your organisation should be an integral part of your volunteer programme.

Acknowledging your volunteers’ involvement and the difference they make to your organisation demonstrates that you value their time and commitment. It directly links to volunteer retention as volunteers who feel valued are far more likely to stay.

It doesn’t have to be costly and it is worth bearing in mind that different people will prefer different forms of recognition, not everyone will be comfortable with public thanks.

heart of salford award winners certificates winton team with uniforms
vols week cakes volunteers week trustee week

There are many ways of making volunteers feel valued, here are a few suggestions:

Prepare for involving volunteers

Having a volunteer policy in place will enable your organisation to think through how you will involve volunteers. Make sure the recruitment process is as quick as possible and that you get back to volunteers in a decent timescale. Giving volunteers a full induction to your organisation and making sure there is enough for them to do is essential

Say thank you

A thank you done in person, by email or sending a thank you card is a simple but effective way of showing your appreciation. Some organisations include personal messages from the Chief Executive of the organisation and/or messages from service users.

Understand their motivations

Understanding their motivations for volunteering will help you to know if their individual needs are being met

Let volunteers know their impact

Let volunteers know the impact of their effort. Many volunteers are motivated by the mission of the organisation so let them know how their involvement has helped your organisation achieve its aims. You could list the top 10 outcomes volunteers have enabled your organisation to achieve, this could be presented to volunteers as you would a certificate, it could also be posted on your website

Enable volunteers personal development

Again this goes back to understanding their individual motivations for volunteering and how your organisation might assist volunteers to reach their goals. Giving volunteers access to training is a good way to help them develop skills, just make sure the training is relevant to their role

Involve volunteers in decision making

Have volunteer meetings or invite volunteers to staff meetings. It is important that volunteers ideas are heard and that they can feed into any decision making processes

Keep volunteers informed

Keep volunteers up to date with what is going on in the organisation, this is especially useful for volunteers whose roles are ad hoc or off site


This could be a thank you certificate or a certificate that marks number of hours. Volunteer Centre Salford have the 100 hours scheme, please see below for more information. There are free templates for thank you certificates http://volunteersweek.org/. Or you can design your own.


Some organisations arrange a special event to celebrate volunteers’ achievements. Volunteers’ Week is a great time to formally thank and recognise your volunteers or if your organisation has awareness days/weeks you may want to ensure that celebrating volunteers’ is part of this


Some organisations have their own in house awards which is a great way of bringing the whole team of staff and volunteers together. You may also want to nominate your volunteers for external awards, Volunteer Centre Salford host the Heart of Salford Awards, please see below for more information. The Queens Award for Voluntary Service runs annually and any group of 2 or more people doing volunteering work can be nominated for the award. Find out more about the QAVS here. 

Badges / uniform

Some volunteer teams have badges and or t-shirts and this can really help people feel part of a team and can be especially useful for volunteers in a public facing role

Support and supervision

Volunteers should have a named person who they can go to with questions and queries. Most support is done informally as part of day to day activities and is about taking the time to chat and getting to know your volunteers. More formal supervision is also beneficial as it allows two way communication, any issues can be nipped in the bud and feedback can provide reassurance to volunteers

Ask them!

If in doubt ask your volunteers, some organisations do annual surveys

heart of salford awards volunteers week Pride in Practice volunter certificates

Volunteer Centre Salford can support the recognition of your volunteers:

100, 500 and 1,000 Hours Recognition Scheme

The 100, 500 and 1,000 Hours Recognition Scheme aims to recognise the valuable contribution that volunteers are making in Salford by awarding a Certificate of Recognition signed by the Ceremonial Mayor of Salford for those who have given 100 or 500 or 1,000 hours to volunteering. This is a simple way of thanking your volunteers for all their dedication and hard work.

Heart of Salford Awards

The Heart of Salford Awards are Salford CVS and Volunteer Centre Salford’s prestigious annual ceremony to celebrate volunteering. A firm favourite in the volunteering calendar this event acknowledges the vast contribution made by volunteers and organisations in Salford.

Volunteers’ Week

This is an annual celebration of volunteering which runs from the 1st – 7th June. For resources and ideas of how you can get involved take a look at what we did last year or visit the Volunteers' Week website.

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Salford CVS & Volunteer Centre
Registered address 
The Old Town Hall 
5 Irwell Place 
Salford, M30 0FN

Tel: 0161 787 7795 
Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk


Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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