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Guide to Rewarding Volunteers

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Deliver recognition and reward in an open and publicized way. If not made public, recognition loses much of its impact and defeats much of the purpose for which it provided. Do not however, think that public recognition will substitute for private, everyday, personal thank yous and respect. What happens 365 days a year has much more impact than what happens at an annual recognition function.

Timing is crucial. Recognize contribution throughout a project. Reward contribution close to the time an achievement is realized. Time delays weaken the impact of most awards. An immediate thank you or great job is much more important than a proclamation six months later.

Tailor your recognition to the unique needs of the people involved. Have several recognition and reward options to enable managers to acknowledge accomplishment in ways appropriate to the particulars of a given situation.

Deliver recognition in a personal and honest manner. Avoid producing recognition that is too 'slick' or overproduced. Small, personal indications of appreciation tend to be perceived as more sincere than formal pronouncements.

Strive for a clear, unambiguous and well-communicated connection between accomplishments and rewards. Be sure people understand why they receive awards and the criteria used to determine awards. People must think that awards are fair and deserved.

Recognize recognition. That is, recognize people who recognize others for doing what is best for the agency. It is the job of everyone on the team to recognize and support excellence.

This article first appeared on the "The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association" webiste.

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