Dear YD colleagues,
Volunteers are 4-H's most valuable asset. We rely on our adult volunteers to deliver the 4-H program, whether leading 4-H clubs or after-school programs, working with groups of youth on community service efforts, or providing their skills and expertise mentoring youth on a 4-H project.
Our success in providing Minnesota youth with meaningful learning experiences is dependent on our success in supporting our volunteers.
Research on motivation says that volunteers want experiences that make them feel appreciated, successful, useful, empowered, connected, and fulfilled. Volunteer recognition is an important strategy to achieve those results.
Last week, Volunteer Systems State Program Director Molly Frendo, and Volunteer Systems team members Patrick Jirik and Amy Wadding, delivered a webinar focused on strategies to improve volunteer recognition. The webinar was intended to help staff understand what volunteer recognition is and why it is important; understand the components of a comprehensive recognition plan; understand how volunteer motivations impact the type of recognition each person prefers; and provide new ideas for recognizing volunteers in programs.
Though I was unable to be on the webinar, I have heard wonderful things from staff about the training. Many were excited about implementing some of the strategies discussed in the training, such as creating an annual volunteer recognition plan and spreadsheets to track volunteer activities and recognition.
April is National Volunteer Month, so this topic is especially timely. If you were unable to participate in person, I encourage you to watch the webinar recording when you have time.
Associate dean & state 4-H director