Advisory Members Are Volunteers Too: Eight Ways to Recognize Your Advisory Members for National Volunteer Week

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picture of volunteer words

Volunteers have always been the key to success for Cooperative Extension. From its inception more than 100 years ago, citizens have been involved to help set priorities for research projects and to share information from the state’s Land Grant Universities (NC State University and N.C. A&T State University) with local communities. Even today, with all the technology available, our volunteers are our best advocates, marketers, and supporters.

As County Advisory Council members, Program Committee members, and State Advisory Council members, these volunteers are keys to keeping Extension at the forefront when elected officials are making funding decisions. These individuals work strategically to help ensure that our programs remain relevant and responsive and use their personal networks to share valuable information with decision-makers.

These volunteers are sometimes overlooked as we pause to acknowledge the work of our Extension volunteers. Our 4-H club leaders, Extension Master Gardener volunteers, ECA members, Extension Master Food Volunteers, and even our episodic volunteers who assist with specific projects or events are highlighted and appreciated for sharing their time, talents, and resources to support our programs. Make this the year that you pause to give a special shout-out to your advisory volunteers!

How do you recognize your Advisory volunteers? Here are eight ways to recognize your Advisory volunteers:

  1. You Rock Advisory Member: Recognize your advisory members on social media showcasing what they do and make it a profile piece
  2. Order Dinner for them: While we are still limiting our distance, you can simply order dinner for those advisory council members
  3. Make it personal: Send your advisory members a personalized note or give them a phone call thanking them for their work and commitment to your county’s program
  4. Are they on LinkedIn? Endorse them or write a recommendation for their work on your advisory council. 
  5. Purchase a practical office tool like a business card holder, padfolio, clock
  6. Call on them: Call on your volunteers to participate in speaking roles during Farm City Week, making presentations at the county commissioners on behalf of Extension, or serving as a judge for other volunteer awards
  7. Send them a success story with a picture of a family/adult/youth and share how their work as an advisory member has transformed their lives
  8. Request a video from a prominent leader in the community thanking them for their work in the county

Share your creative ideas with your peers, and remember, advisory council member is the title, a volunteer is the paid status, and our volunteers are priceless!