Pennsylvania Chapter Recognizes Dedicated Volunteers
By Lindsay Delp, administrative assistant with the Pennsylvania Chapter.
Our success story has to do with recognizing our volunteers. We hadn’t had an event like this in 10 or 15 years, so many of the people we had to acknowledge were being recognized for the first time. A lot of people had the opportunity to see old friends for the first time in a long time.
To start, we formed an awards dinner committee and we sent two email alerts statewide to members asking people to officially register. The sign-up information was also circulated to club leader listservs. We asked all groups to nominate a person from their group to receive an award. We asked chapter members to submit a nomination for a lifetime achievement award. And we asked everyone to consider donating an item for the silent auction and we also had an acoustic music duo playing throughout the dinner.
We held this event after our exec committee meeting in the same building and held Marcellus Shale and Leadership development trainings the next day. The trainings were offered to entice people to stay overnight after the dinner and attend one of the trainings the next day. This allowed the cost of lodging and transportation for anyone who attended the trainings to be reimbursed.
We made dinner programs with brief descriptions of why each recipient was receiving an award and put them at each place setting. Each program had a photo of each award recipient to go with the description. We made up framed professionally printed certificates for all the group award recipients. We ordered professionally engraved plaques for the lifetime achievement award recipients.
We had more than 50 people attend and many had traveled long distances. We raised an estimated $500 from the silent auction. But the real benefit of the event was appreciating our volunteers. Major factors behind the success of this event included strong participation, our volunteers, and the fact that the facility's staff understood the needs of our group and was helpful and flexible.
The key lesson from holding this event was that the goodwill created by the awards dinner was worth the time and energy it took to put it together. A lot of people liked the theme of the event, which was “Stargazing Awards Dinner”.