I'm starting a new Volunteer Recognition program and I'd love your input. Do any of you give away free t-shirts to your volunteers? Right now we offer no discount and they are not purchasing them. I'm mostly concerned for our outreach/education volunteers because they have started wearing other organizations t-shirts out, which confuses the public. Do you have a company that offers cheap t-shirts? What kind of discount do you give them? Is it only offered at orientation or all year round?
Other Ideas: Monthly Raffle. Another organization told me they did this, and they handed out $10 gift certificates each month to one lucky volunteer. Do any of you do this? How do you hand out tickets? My only thought was making sure each employee has to hand out 5 per month to meet their quota.
I would also like to start a paw print board with special thank you's from the employees. My main concern is that the same people will get them time after time. How do you distribute thank you's evenly throughout your organization?
We offer free t-shirts to volunteers who are in certain positions, but not to everyone. At a previous organization, we offered t-shirts to everyone as part of their uniform. (They were expected to wear them at their shifts to identify them as staff who has access to non-public areas of the building.) We offered them one shirt when they started as part of their registration fee of $25, which covered their shirt and their background check, and then they could purchase additional shirts at a discount.
Generally, it's a good idea to stay away from gift cards for volunteers. It can create sticky legal situations because it is like offering cash for services, but at way below minimum wage. Many organizations have a strict policies against gift cards for that reason.
Also, the IRS places limits on the monitory amount of gifts that can be given to volunteers and staff without tax consequences. It may be a good idea to check in with your finance department about that.
It's good to be aware of the potential for imbalance in public recognition. Maybe you can talk with staff about spreading the love around more intentionally.
Thank you for the information! I didn't even think about it that way with the gift certificates!