Volunteers are very special people whose donation of time and effort warrants special consideration. They should always be encouraged to develop, learn and seek fulfilment as they help an organization, even if it means accepting the reality that not everyone is perfect for every job.
A current list of volunteering activities at Ashridge would include such varied pursuits as;-
Gardening at Northchurch Flats and Frithsden.
Carpentry at the Estate saw-mill.
Landscaping in the Park.
Twitching for the public on Northchurch common.
Horticulture at the Plant Fair.
Early- bird surveying.
Flint walling, and Windmill keeping.
Walking guides, and shop keepers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Ontario , Canada, have seen fit to publish their take on the subject and this is their thinking :
Formal recognition is important to the volunteer. The public need to be told of their generosity of spirit without expecting personal gain, at dinners, in press releases, and in public notices.
Informal recognition is even more important. It takes place on a one-to-one basis and is achieved through personal meetings, emails, newsletters etc.
Recognition can be likened to an iceberg. The formal recognition is visible by all above the waterline, while the informal is the large mass below the water. It’s a much greater area to respond to.
Recognition and encouragement are essential to stimulating and maintaining active involvement, and can be achieved in various ways.
Spontaneity – expressing the appreciation or recognition on the spot.
Sincerity – phoniness is worse than saying nothing.
Specifics – speaking in generalities does not inspire confidence.
Thanks – a handshake, a pat on the back, or a smile.
Demeanor – facial expression or body language.
Creativity – using a variety of jobs to find ways of involving volunteers.
Humour – being able to laugh.
There are many ways to recognize people for their efforts – a smile, a thank-you, awards, reimbursement of expenses, name tags, letters of appreciation, dinners, special occasion cards, calendars, a picnic…
Here at Ashridge the Trust make every effort to tick all of the boxes, so let’s meet up on Monday at the picnic to mark the start of national “Volunteers Week”, and celebrate another successful year of volunteering.