You might disagree with me, but I think that giving blood is a form of volunteering. I take some time, give of a valuable resource that I possess, and save someone’s life. It’s amazing, and I feel proud and lucky to be able to do it.
Without fail the Blood Centers of the Pacific chapter here in San Francisco calls me up every month to schedule an appointment (I actually give blood platelets, which are in higher demand, don’t last as long, and can be given more often than normal blood donations.) While no one could fault them for their recruitment or retention methods, it’s their volunteer appreciation that really has me impressed.
Last month I received an unexpected package in the mail in the form of a desk calendar from Blood Centers of the Pacific. It was a thank you for being a blood donor, and in my mind this quirky gift embodies several of the best practices when it comes to volunteer appreciation. Read more below:
No Ask – Just a Thank You
The calendar didn’t come with a “You can renew your support” or “Don’t forget to schedule an appointment.” This gift was only about making me feel appreciated. Taking dedicated time just to thank your volunteers will show them that what they have already contributed matters – and you’re not always looking to get more from them.
Useful Swag, Not Silly Fluff
Unlike many other thank you gifts (trophies come to mind), I could actually use a desk calendar. And as it becomes a daily part of my life, so will the Blood Center – each time I look at it.
Personalize, Personalize, and Personalize Again
My desk calendar had my name inserted in various clever ways, such as on a child’s drawing, and as part of a page signed by patients. Another brilliant personalization was marking off on the 2013 calendar each day that I gave blood in 2012. A reminder of the time I spent with them previously, and a subtle suggestion for how I could continue. This illustrated the strong relationship I have with the organization.
Because of these elements, the desk calendar from Blood Centers of the Pacific made me feel special, very appreciated, and proud to be associated with them.
Which reminds me, I need to make another appointment to give blood.
What is your organization doing to make your volunteers feel special?