2013 Year in Review

In 2013, YNPN Atlanta saw some TREMENDOUS growth!  It was a packed year that led to meaningful connections, increased professional development, and some great new partnerships for our chapter.  Here are a few highlights:

  • Entering January, 2013, the YNPN Atlanta Board of Directors more than doubled in size, creating a strong leadership body ready to take on new challenges.
    YNPN Atlanta 2013 Board of Directors

    YNPN Atlanta 2013 Board

    The 2013 Board of Directors accomplished an immense amount of work, including a strategic planning session mid-year and engagement in the new Chapter Congress process implemented by YNPN National.  The YNPN Atlanta committees also grew to accommodate the increased programming in 2013, allowing more members to have an in-depth, career-building, volunteer experience.

  • 2013 was the first year YNPN Atlanta presented a full slate of programming for networking hours and professional development.  Memorable events included our State of Fundraising Roundtable which featured a panel of philanthropic experts, Perfect Your Elevator Pitch where we learned to speak with intention about ourselves and our organizations, Update Your LinkedIn Profile with social media advice and free professional headshots, Financial Planning for Nonprofit Professionals where attendees received excellent personal finance advice from authorities in the field, and fun networking opportunities like our Speed Networking, Business Card Bingo, and a fun Holiday Happy Hour at Game-X.

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  • YNPN Atlanta MLK Day 2013

    Volunteers at MLK Day 2013

    Our year started with a great service project on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day when YNPN Atlanta partnered with the Anti-Defamation League and the Alliance Theatre for the annual No Place for Hate Summit by providing volunteers to work with high school students creating a meaningful dialogue on bullying and discrimination.

  • Mentorship 2012-2013 Cohort

    2012-2013 Mentees

    In May 2013, our first cohort for the YNPN Atlanta Mentorship Program completed their 9 month program with a fun luncheon at The Livingston.  Our second cohort launched in October 2013, with nine new pairs of mentors and mentees engaging in a thoughtful, strategic relationship.

  • YNPN Atlanta was thrilled to partner with the Georgia Center for Nonprofits for their annual Nonprofit Summit, including the creation of the inaugural Nonprofit Leaders 30 Under 30 Awards which recognizes emerging leaders statewide for their contributions to the nonprofit sector.
    AwardWinners_panorama

    GCN’s 2013 30 Under 30 Award Winners

  • The first annual NextGen Breakfast was a huge success!  Thanks to MailChimp’s generosity, this sold-out event gave attendees the opportunity to create relationships with established nonprofit community leaders while listening to some great career advice from Alicia Philipp, President of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

As 2013 came to a close, YNPN Atlanta’s increased footprint was obvious – with almost 200 members, 15+ networking and professional development events, and new relationships with organizations such as the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, YNPN Atlanta is set for some truly influential work in 2014 under the helm of incoming board chair Molly Friesenborg and her leadership team.

It has truly been an honor serving as the Board Chair for YNPN Atlanta the past three years.  I believe in the transformative power of our young professionals working together to create a more vibrant and impactful nonprofit sector in Metro Atlanta, and through our members I see that happening every day.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn so much from all of you!

Sincerely,
Lindsey Hardegree
Founding Chair, Board of Directors
Find Lindsey on Google+

Presentations: Do Yours Fall Flat?

I’ve often attended presentations of experts in my field. They have a wealth of information – typically information that many people are clamoring to hear; however, their knowledge and message get lost in a dull PowerPoint presentation. It makes me think of this amazing skit, Every Presentation Ever:

Watch the Video!

Experts can rely on their, well, expertise and reputation to keep people listening; unfortunately, most of us at the beginning of our careers don’t have that luxury. I frequently present to or train people who may not know my organization, let alone me. So what steps do I take to keep people engaged? Below are some tips I try to follow:

Give yourself time!

This is one of the biggest and easiest mistakes to make. My more esteemed colleague requires 8 hours of preparation for every hour of presentation. If you are speaking on a topic you haven’t presented before, you may need more time than that. When you set aside this time, it’s important to take the opportunity to:

  • Spell it out by creating an outline
  • Looks are everything – make sure your information catches the audience
  • Get the audience involved through activities or engagement
  • Test it out with a dry run beforehand

Spell it out

If you’re writing a paper, you create an outline – why not do that for a presentation as well? At our company, we define the items listed below:

  • Brief description: If this presentation is to be listed on a flyer or in a program, how would it be described?
  • Audience
  • Length
  • Learning Objectives: When the presentation is complete, what do you want them to walk out knowing?
  • Schedule

Looks are everything

You don’t need to be a graphic designer to have a slick-looking presentation. You just need to follow some simple rules. This set of slides says it all much better than I can:

I’ve summarized the points below:

  1. Too much info
  2. Not enough visuals
  3. Bad quality
  4. Overwhelming visuals
  5. Lack of prep (hmmm… was that mentioned previously?)

Prezi is a great too to bring movement to your presentation. Recently, they have developed some templates that you can use. In addition, the presentations are easy to share for those who want to review it later.

Get the audience involved

Do presentations you attend often have the obligatory Q&A session at the end of the session? Is this typically the only interaction the presenter has with the audience? If you’re nodding yes, then more audience involvement is key!

The question is how? There’s many ways of creating engagement. The simplest form of engagement is to poll the audience on a topic or a point you make in the presentation. It’s also a great way for you to get feedback instantly! You may also want to incorporate an opening activity, sometimes called an ice breaker, and a closing activity.

Test it out

Dry runs help work the kinks out of presentations. If the presentation is for a group outside of your office, invite your coworkers to a brown bag lunch and ask them for pointers (cookies or other forms of dessert can be a great bribe). You can also use someone who’s completely unfamiliar with the topic, such as a friend, roommate or significant other. If you can’t get your point across to them, there’s a distinct possibility that the presentation is not effective.

Lastly…

Don’t beat yourself up! Whether it’s before, during or after the presentation, be confident. It’s okay to say you don’t know something, but don’t apologize for it.

~Lauren Westmoreland, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member

 

What Good is a Mistake if You Don’t Learn From It?

mistakes - oops!As young professionals, we’re often thrown into things at work and expected to run with them. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – having to figure things out on our own and implement them without previous experience represents an incredible growth opportunity. With that growth, though, will also come mistakes.

The other day, I made a mistake at work. The details aren’t really important – it wasn’t the end of the world, but it was definitely something that I was completely responsible for. The ensuing phone call with my supervisor was more than awkward, and I had to act immediately to handle the situation. I think the four steps I went through may well serve as a framework for the future – and though I’d like to think I’ll never make a mistake at work again, that would be completely unrealistic.

Step One – Investigate:

Before rushing to any conclusions, you should look back at what happened. Learn where the error was made and why, and see if there is something you may have overlooked. Perhaps the mistake wasn’t yours – maybe a name was listed wrong in a document, or your instructions were wrong. Either way, you need to know what happened.

Step Two – Take Responsibility:

In my case, there was no question that the mistake was my own. I probably could have dug around and found some sort of lame excuse that took part of the blame off of me, but what’s the point of doing that? I messed up, and I fully admitted it. I know that my supervisor appreciated me taking ownership of the issue and apologizing for what happened.

Step Three – Look Ahead:

Sometimes, the mistake that was made can be undone; this was not the case in my situation. However, that’s not always true. In my circumstances, what was done was done. I knew, though, that I needed to figure out a way to ensure that this didn’t happen again in the future. As soon as I got off the phone with my boss, I came up with a system to put in place to ensure everything that we do has two sets of eyes on it without becoming a burden on other staff members. I immediately communicated this new plan with my manager, who seemed to appreciate it and agreed that it would work much better.

Step Four – Move On:

Being called out by your supervisor is difficult, especially for those of us who are perfectionists. It happens to everyone, though, and it’s an important part of learning and professional growth. After I talked to my boss, all I wanted to do was go home and binge on ice cream and Cheetos. I didn’t, though – instead, I went to dinner with a friend and went about my life. I had done all I could, and it would have been completely unhealthy to let something like that bother me when there was nothing more that could be done.

In essence, mistakes are part of life. And typically, they can even be good – they remind us that we are all humans, and they represent a chance to adjust the ways in which we do things to ensure that such mistakes happen again. After all, what good is a mistake if you don’t learn from it?

-Alex McNair, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member

The First NextGen Breakfast: Phenomenal

Next Gen Final LogoWhat does it take to be a nonprofit leader in the 21st century? How can we connect the young leaders of Atlanta with seasoned professionals in the field in a meaningful way?

These are some of the questions we asked ourselves when we beFreddie_OGgan planning YNPN Atlanta’s signature annual event many months ago. The event took shape through exploration of these questions and on Tuesday, October 8th, the YNPN Atlanta First Annual NextGen Breakfast took place at The Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta, with the incredible support of presenting sponsor, MailChimp.

First, we needed a fascinating keynote speaker that would draw our members to the event and be sure to deliver a motivating address about how to be an   effective nonprofit leader. Alicia Philipp, President of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, did not disappoint. More on that in a moment!

Second, we hoped to find 10 additional local nonprofit ‘celebrities’ that would each have a table at the event. Attendees would then be able to choose the table at which they wanted to be seated, depending on their professional interests or desire to meet a particular nonprofit rockstar. YNPN Atlanta was overjoyed and humbled that everyone we reached out to was excited to participate! Here’s the rundown of our incredible nonprofit celebrity guest list:

Speakers with MailChimp sponsor _GregMooney

All of our distinguished guests along with MailChimprepresentative Lain Shakespeare.

AliciaPhilipp speaks1_GregMooney

Alicia Philipp addresses the crowd.

After welcoming remarks from YNPN Atlanta Chair Lindsey Hardegree, Alicia Philipp told us about her strategies for successful leadership, especially for those of us at a young age. She spoke at length about the need embrace diversity, to get out of your comfort zone, and to continue to grow and learn, at one point going so far as to say: “Once a quarter, do something that makes you want to throw up.” She also talked about the shifting dynamics between nonprofits, government, and individuals, and about the “meanness of spirit” that exists today, challenging nonprofit professionals to do something about it.

A few of the local nonprofit rockstars who were unable to attend to due to scheduling conflicts generously donated their time for our Silent Auction, and attendees got to bid on one-on-one lunches with them! We were able to get other fantastic items such as classes at the Foundation Center and at the Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s Nonprofit University.

Personally, I sat at a table with Valarie Wilson of the Atlanta Beltline Partnership. We learned about Valarie’s path to success and she questioned us on whether we were preparing to take the next step in our own careers.

Attendees Talking at Table _GregMooney

Attendees deep in discussion during the event.

Even though I was often busy with preparations and the running of the event, I still managed to meet new people, network with some of our ‘celebrity’ guests, re-connect with folks I had met at previous YNPN Atlanta events, enjoy a great breakfast, and come away with ideas on how to better organize my career goals.

While planning the NextGen Breakfast, we hoped it was something we could replicate for years to come. With such a resounding success in its first year, you can expect that it will happen again in 2014. Personally, I can’t wait!

Please leave your thoughts on the event, suggestions for the future, or other comments below!

~Rachel Ciprotti
@RCiprotti
YNPN Atlanta Board Member

Nonprofit Tools & Technology – July

This month we’re featuring tools for group-fundraising and link tracking.

As always, our featured tools will cover a broad range of uses – from managing social media campaigns to collecting online donations.  Many were not developed exclusively for nonprofits, but all will be selected based on their usefulness, ease of use, and cost (most, if not all will have a free version…).  

Crowdtilt – Fundraise with group-funding campaigns

crowdtilt logoOverview: Crowdtilt is a group-funding tool that can be used to raise money for a specific objective.  Crowdtilt’s platform lets supporters contribute money, however, the funds are only released if the campaign reaches its fundraising goal.  This model particularly useful for nonprofits because it reduces the risk for fundraisers AND potential funders.  The platform also streamlines the process of organizing/promoting fundraising campaigns as well as the donation processing.

Cost: Crowdtilt receives a 2.5% processing fee for successful nonprofit campaigns

Potential Uses: One-time fundraisers (e.g., an emergency relief fund, scholarship), small capital projects, investments in new equipment, events/ticket-sales

bitly – Easily save, share, and TRACK links

bitly logoOverview: bitly is a web-tool used for shortening, sharing, and best of all – tracking links.  Users can save links (“bitmarks”) through a variety of ways including the bit.ly website, mobile devices, and browser bookmarklets/extensions (ex. Chrome extension).  While there are many saving/shortening tools available (e.g., Delicious, Tinyurl), bitly has additional link tracking features.  Once a bitmark is created, users can easily view real-time analytics (example), regardless of whose content it is or where the content is shared (e.g., email, social media, website). Whether it’s your organization’s annual report or a YouTube video that a supporter created, you can promote and track your content without digging through analytics reports from multiple sources.

Cost: bitly is free

Potential Uses: Links used in social media marketing, email campaigns, and even on your organization’s website

Jeffrey Ader, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member

GCN’s 2013 Nonprofit Summit

The Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s (GCN) 2013 Nonprofit Summit took place May 20-21. The Summit included more workshops, lectures, and other events than could be attended by one or two people. I have tried to summarize a few take-away points from some of my favorite sessions. Check out some of our photos on Facebook from the event.

With so many amazing speakers and topics, I recommend that all nonprofits send more than one representative to this event every year, in order to take advantage of the opportunities for learning and growth.

I walked around the Exhibit Hall, visiting with the many exhibitors who were there, and several of them commented to me on how many YNPN members they had met. This was due in no small part to YNPN Atlanta’s collaboration with GCN on the 30 Under 30 Awards, and in the creation of the ’30 Under 30’ track at the conference, including bringing Trish Tchume, YNPN National’s Executive Director, to present at the Summit.

AwardWinners_panorama

All 30 award winners at the Summit!

There was also fun to be had at the conference, especially at the Opportunity Knocks photobooth, run by wowphotobooth.com! Here’s a collage of some YNPN’ers hamming it up:

photobooth_collage

A phenomenal session on Social Media Strategy with Alyssa Esker of Edelman included the tidbit that Facebook posts create engagement for 2 to 3 hours only (on Twitter, it’s an hour or less), and 70% of post engagement happens in someone’s News Feed, not on your organization’s Page. Ms. Esker also wisely told the audience to get on Google+, but to use it as an amplifier, not a community builder. Google+ helps with search results, which is critical. (FYI, YNPN Atlanta is on Google+!)

Slide_StateOfNonprofits_DracosLemmingAnother wonderful presentation I saw was from Ellen Dracos Lemming and it was about the Donor Landscape of 2050. Check out this slide about the growth of the sector in the past 25 years:

She also spoke about the five Tectonic Shifts in donors that will be occurring:

  1. Demographics: especially age, but also ethnicity
  2. Technology: note that older Americans are already increasingly going mobile
  3. Globalization: “geography is irrelevant”
  4. Saturation: more like over-saturation of stimuli and information
  5. Brand: creation of a feeling, a personality, around your organization

Ms. Lemming emphasized that there are only two of these shifts that organizations have any control over: Technology and Brand. She encouraged us to think about ways to use these to our advantage.

Last, but in no way least, was the 30 Under 30 Session headed up by Trish Tchume and our own YNPN Atlanta President, Lindsey Hardegree on ‘Your Role in Cultivating Next Generation Leadership.’ We’ve got their presentation slides posted on slideshare and embedded below.

There was a breakout discussion during the session on what kinds of professional development we each are getting, and what improvements could be made. One fabulous piece of advice that I took to heart: in addition to your annual review, request a Professional Development Plan (PDP)  that includes the skills you need/want to work on throughout the upcoming year.

The group also discussed leveraging the benefits to the organization when asking for funding for professional development opportunities (ex: “if I take this training class in InDesign, we will save money on hiring outside consultants to tweak our graphics”).

Overall, I met so many amazing people at the Summit, and sat in on more than a dozen workshops, presentations, and discussion groups. YNPN Atlanta will keep you informed when next year’s Summit comes around, and we will hopefully have discounts and volunteer opportunities for our members once again!

Summer Reading List – May

As summer approaches and vacation time is on the horizon, I typically start a list of books I’d like to tackle before the busy fall season. I certainly include my share of lighter fare, but I usually try to throw in a few reads that will exercise my mind, and, as an added bonus, help me grow in my career.

If like me you’re looking for some picks for this summer, here are a few I’d suggest checking out. And stay tuned for more recommendations from YNPNers in June and July!

For Business:

Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

You’ll want to buy this book brand new, as it comes with a unique log-in for an online assessment questionnaire designed to help you determine your strengths, as well as action steps for how to make the most of them. After you take the online questionnaire, you’ll receive a personalized Strengths Insights Report and Action-Planning Guide. A #1 Wall Street Journal and Businessweek bestseller, the book offers additional insights into your strengths, information about working with others with your strengths, and also ideas for action. Rather than focusing on fixing your shortcomings, this book emphasizes developing your strengths as a way to find fulfillment in your career. It’s an eye-opening exercise and a rewarding read.

How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar by Trista Harris and Rosetta Thurman

This do-it-yourself map helps you navigate the nonprofit sector and offers tools that you need to move from entry level to leadership. The book is based on the authors’ experiences as well as interviews with “nonprofit rockstars” who have quickly accelerated their careers. Topics covered in the book are how to develop meaningful nonprofit experience, build a strong network, establish a strong personal brand, achieve work/life balance, and move up in your career. Author Rosetta Thurman actually visited Atlanta back in November for a free nonprofit career workshop at the Foundation Center.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

As the subtitle suggests, this book is about “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.” A nonfiction book that reads like a page-turner, this one is a recent favorite. Gladwell focuses on how a seemingly small or insignificant idea, trend or behavior can trigger a social epidemic, worldwide fashion trend, or drop in crime rate. As I read this book, I often got inspiration for new ways to approach my own professional development as well as nonprofit marketing and fundraising.

For Pleasure:

The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs

This memoir by NPR contributor and magazine editor A.J. Jacobs tells the somewhat ridiculous and often hilarious story of the author’s quest to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. With chapters titled A to Z, the book is full of interesting facts and truly amusing tales of Jacobs’ determination to finish all 33,000 pages. I had a blast reading this book and even more fun impressing (or annoying) my friends with quirky bits of info I may never have known if I hadn’t picked it up.

Nonprofit Tools & Technology – May

This month we’re featuring tools for creating online wish lists and interactive data visualizations.

As always, our featured tools will cover a broad range of uses – from managing social media campaigns to collecting online donations.  Many were not developed exclusively for nonprofits, but all will be selected based on their usefulness, ease of use, and cost (most, if not all will have a free version).  

GiFTgive – FUNDRAISE WITH ONLINE WISH LISTS

Overview: GiFTgive lets organizations make custom online wish lists (through Amazon.com) which can then be shared with donors. Unlike a traditional gift registry, the feature-rich platform allows organizations to customize the look and feel of the wish list page as well as the donor thank you message. The platform also lets donors make partial donations towards more expensive items.  The obvious benefits for donors are the opportunities to make non-cash contributions and to see the direct impact of contributions. For nonprofits, using GiFTgive can be an easy way to solicit contributions for goods/equipment that may not be a budget priority or that are not costly enough to require a dedicated fundraising campaign.

Cost:  Pricing plans range from a 4.9% transaction fee to a fixed $49 monthly or $495 annual fee

Potential Uses: Holiday season wish lists, office relocation/renovation wish lists, program equipment wish lists


TABLEAU PUBLIC – EASILY CREATE DATA VISUALIZATIONS

Overview: Tableau Public is a free application for creating interactive data visualizations that can be shared and embedded online.  Unlike many data visualization tools, it requires no programming or graphic design skills.  Users can import data from Excel/Access and then use a simple drag and drop process to create and customize interactive charts.  Charts (or groups of charts in a dashboard format) can be shared online and embedded in webpages.  Tableau Public is a particularly powerful tool for nonprofits given its ease of use and ability to visually communicate complex data sets.  Not only can a nonprofits leverage data collected from its services/programs, but it can also take advantage of publicly available data sets (examples using government/public data).

Cost: Pricing plans include a free application as well as personal and professional versions that range up to $1,999

Potential Uses:  Issue advocacy/education, program metrics/evaluation, financial transparency

- Jeffrey Ader, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member

State of Fundraising Roundtable Wrap-Up

A recent study by CompassPoint looked at the state of fundraising and fundraising professionals. The study, “UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising,” found that about half of chief fundraisers are considering leaving the profession completely. Organizations are also seeing open fundraising positions remain unfilled for months. According to Marla Cornelius, a senior project director at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and co-author of the study, the results of the study go beyond staffing issues to the heart of culture.

“’Too many organizations lack a culture of philanthropy, which means that development directors don’t have the conditions they need to succeed,’ she says. ‘It’s a vicious cycle.’”

On Wednesday, April 24, YNPN Atlanta held a panel and discussion group on “The State of Fundraising.” We were joined by three Atlanta nonprofit fundraising professionals:

- John Clark, Associate Vice President for Development, Georgia State University
- Subie Green, President, Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI)
- Elizabeth Pearce, Campaign Director, Coxe Curry & Associates

All three panelists agreed that the study struck a chord and was completely on point with its key findings. One major challenge the panelists added that they are seeing is a shift in fundraising staffs having the primary or sole responsibility for raising money instead of the Board of Directors. A major reason for this is that a proliferation of nonprofit organizations has diluted the effectiveness of Board members. Too many of the same people are being asked to serve on 3, 4, 5 or 6 boards, which dilute their fundraising abilities and opportunities.

GSU's Jon Clark speaks with YNPN members during a breakout at the Fundraising Roundtable event.

GSU’s Jon Clark speaks with YNPN members during a breakout at the Fundraising Roundtable event.

After hearing from the panelists about the study and the current state of fundraising, we broke into three discussion groups. The event participants had the opportunity to discuss the CompassPoint study in depth with one of our experts,  as well as ask relevant questions about  beginning and growing a career in fundraising.

The key ideas that came out of these discussions were:

- Make the ask
- Take a risk
- Role play or practice the ask (especially with Board members)
- Everyone in the organization is in ‘sales’ (not just the fundraising staff)
- Fundraising is a skill set and a profession
- Find a mentor in the field and don’t be afraid to ask
- Invest fully in the mission of the organization
- Fundraising = relationships
- Relationships encompass all areas of work
- Focus on quality relationships vs. quantity
- The structure of an organization affects the capacity to fundraise
- Do your homework when job seeking about the organization(s) you want to work for
- Find the right fit in a job – you are interviewing the organization as much as they are interviewing you

To read the Chronicle of Philanthropy article highlighting the key points of the CompassPoint study, click here.

In a related topic, a recent TED Talk by activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta, “The way we think about charity is dead wrong,” calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let’s change the way we think about changing the world. Watch this dynamic and forward thinking talk:

- Kate Balzer, YNPN Atlanta Member

Thank Your Volunteers – It’s National Volunteer Week

national volunteer week 2013Happy National Volunteer Week YNPNer’s! April 21-27th is a time to recognize and celebrate the work that is done through service, and as we all know, volunteers are essential at helping to carry out the mission of any nonprofit organization. From serving at your nonprofit’s annual fundraiser to providing day-to-day support, volunteers are a great group of individuals who are passionate about the work of our organizations and want to donate their time to support.

According to the Independent Sector, the estimated value of volunteer time in Georgia is $20.77/hr. That’s an incredible amount of worth that these individuals are providing for organizations that are operating as cost efficiently as possible.

During National Volunteer Week (and really, throughout the year), find some time to recognize the volunteers who help your organization thrive. Here are some ways you can acknowledge those individuals:

-       Handwritten Thank You Cards – With the noise of email and social media, some volunteers, especially ones of older generations, would prefer more personal and individual forms of gratitude. Handwritten cards, notes, and letters can show your volunteers that you took the time out to craft the message to them.

-       Make a video or photo slideshow – Along with writing a note, if you have long term volunteers or ones that help at major events or fundraisers, consider creating a video or photo slideshow that highlights not only the event, but those that were on the ground helping to make it all run smoothly. Make some copies for your volunteers to take home so that they can look back fondly on their service experience and pass it along to others, which can help your organization retain and recruit new individuals for future events.

-       Write a Recommendation – For skills-based or long term volunteers, writing a recommendation, either as a letter or on LinkedIn, that emphasizes the quality of the individual’s work would be a great way to recognize their service. This would also be a good vehicle to highlight the details of the projects the individual worked on and how it contributed to the goals of your nonprofit organization.

-       Highlight them on social media – A public (and free!) way to recognize your volunteers would be on social media. You can send a tweet using #NVW, post pictures, or make a video that shows you and your organization’s gratitude to the service these members have contributed. When you tag them on a status, tweet, or other media, their networks will be able to see the post and also recognize the volunteer for the great work they did, while learning more about your organization at the same time!

-       Treat them out – The next time your volunteers come to serve, offer to take them out for lunch or coffee. This will be a nice surprise for your volunteers, and it’ll be a great way for you to get to know them on a more personal level. You can learn more about what they’re looking to get out of serving at your organization and how their service fits into other parts of their lives.

Visit VolunteerSpot for other ways that you can say thanks to volunteers during National Volunteer Week. What are some ways your organization has recognized volunteers? Share with us in the comments below!