20 ways to make running a ‘Hybrid’ Volunteer Appreciation Event easier
Volunteers are the heart and at the heart of many communities and organisations across North Yorkshire.
Volunteers’ Week, which runs annually from 1 – 7 June, is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK by volunteering in their communities. It offers a fantastic opportunity to thank and celebrate current volunteers and to inspire future volunteers.
We are aware that many organisations are already planning a volunteer appreciation event, perhaps even their first face-to-face one since Covid, or an event taking place remotely. Running a ‘hybrid’ event where volunteers can join in person or online offers the potential for more people to get involved. Here are some tips on running such an event:
- Wherever possible involve volunteers in planning and delivering the event
- Ask staff and service users to provide quotes about the difference volunteers make (i.e. “We appreciate you because….”) and have these available to share on the day
- Prepare an appreciation card (and perhaps a small gift) that can be given to those attending with maybe an electronic card for those joining remotely on the day.
On the day:
- Have people available to not only welcome volunteers in person but also someone available to welcome those joining online
- It’s also good to have someone who can offer IT support in advance of the event and on the day.
Don’t forget to:
- Test all of the equipment in advance
- Test the live streaming in the venue before the event
- Ensure that everyone can hear the sound online
- Turn on the cameras of the volunteers online (if they agree) so people can see them and they can see those in the room
- Arrange the camera so the presenter is looking at people in the room and those online.
In terms of content, there are several things you might consider offering:
- An overview or update on the impact volunteers make on your organisation (numbers and stories)
- An organisational update with the opportunity for a Q & A with your Chief Officer and Chair of the Board
- Many service user stories, collected in advance of the event (make sure you gain permission to share)
- Interactive activities – quizzes, and chair-based exercises that people in the room and online can take part in. Feedback tools such as Slido or Menti can be used in a room and by those online (if you’re using these, you may need to send out instructions before the event)
- Use the opportunity to ask your volunteers to share their favourite volunteer moments (in person or on a post-it note).
To make the event as immersive as possible for those online:
- Record the event as a webinar so people can join in real-time or watch it as a recording
- Offer an online chat facility and Q & A function and have someone who can respond to these
- Offer a virtual interactive whiteboard so people can post thoughts and comments.
Make sure you have a backup plan in place in case any of your key support staff are unavailable at short notice.
You may also like to take and share a video of the day for those unavailable to join you and share this via your website and social media (with appropriate permissions in place).
Whether you’re planning a garden party, picnic, celebration meal, or hybrid event we hope you have a wonderful Volunteers’ Week.
Support for volunteer-involving organisations
If you have a volunteering opportunity that you’d like to advertise, have a look at our Volunteering in North Yorkshire directory to advertise your role for free.
Make sure you book onto our next Volunteer Coordinator Network meeting on Thursday 15 June, which is themed around neurodiversity.