Nowadays, every non profit agency is looking for volunteers. Have time? There’s probably a space for you. Usually, a person volunteers because they believe in the cause they are supporting, and want to move that agenda forward.

However, there are some agencies who essentially see volunteers as a cheap labour. Intentional or not, the volunteers feel used and unappreciated. Most volunteers don’t help for the recognition or glory. That being said, having the supervisor acknowledge their contribution as making a significant difference affirms the volunteer is in the right place.

People offer a variety of methods in how to show appreciation to volunteers. There are awards, banquets, outings, hand-written cards and all sorts of ideas (many very valuable).

As someone who oversees volunteers (and at times volunteers myself), I need to ensure my volunteers feel cared for, that I value them not just for their work but also for them as persons (which at times, being a task-focused person, that appreciation doesn’t always come through well). One question I try to find out from them: what is their love language? While all those examples above will likely be received with gratitude, appreciating them through their love language will likely resonate with their soul.

It’s also a great teachable moment if they’re not sure what it is. Suggest taking the inventory at Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages.

BTW, what’s your love language?

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