Thornbury Running Club have shared some of their volunteer recognition events, and highlighted their sustainable practices. If you're committed to recognising your volunteers as a club, why not nominate them or the club for an England Athletics Volunteer Award this year?
Our Volunteer Awards for 2023 are open for nominations until 26 July.
Why did you decide to start rewarding and recognising volunteers?
As a running club we felt it was important that we recognised both running achievement and the contribution made by people volunteering with the club. Everything that happens in the club is the result of somebody donating their time. Not everyone has the time to volunteer, due to family and work demands, so it’s important to recognise those who do actively contribute.
We have a trophy which is awarded to a club newcomer who has made great progress and who has supported other newer members.
How do you reward volunteers?
I think it starts with simply remembering to say “thank you”, that’s the essence of recognition. It means you noticed somebody has done something and they don’t feel taken for granted.
This can also include a ‘shout out’ in the club bulletin and/or club night announcements for public recognition. We have two ways of rewarding our members for their contribution, a simple gift or our Annual Recognition Awards which are given to people who have made contributions in multiple ways across the year, and presented at our Annual Club Awards social event.
In 2022 we worked with a local wood turner to create unique awards using wood that had been recovered from wind damaged trees. He asked us to donate all the monies he would typically earn from making the trophies to the Ukraine appeal.
What did it mean to your members to be recognised?
“I don’t volunteer to be thanked but because I find it fulfilling. Therefore, receiving the Recognition Award was great because it said, ‘we see everything you do for the club and want to say thank you.”Emma Pritchard (Run Leader, supporting beginners, mental
health champion, social event organiser, Membership Secretary)
“All the little things add up, so it is really nice to be recognised. It is my way of giving back to a club that has done so much for me.”Carol Mosses (Run Leader, supporting beginners,
mental health champion, kit sales)
“When you are recognised by your peers then it does make the hours of planning, and coaching in all weathers all the more worthwhile, and underlines the impact that you are making.”Nick Williams (Run Leader, Tuesday coaching)
What plans do you have for rewarding and recognising volunteers in the future?
We will continue our current plans. Plus, 'Recognition & Rewards' is a standing item on our committee meeting agenda to make sure we don’t overlook anyone who deserves to be recognised.
Why would you encourage other clubs to start doing this?
In our experience, asking for people to volunteer has limited success;
Read the full case study in the Reward and Recognition section of our Club Hub
A direct approach is far more likely to succeed - and the more people who volunteer, the lighter the load.
Photo permission kindly granted by Thornbury Running Club