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How Our Volunteer Awards Nominations Work: an Overview of the Selection Process
January 14, 2016 | United Way Team

2016 marks the sixth annual Outstanding Volunteer Awards and Volunteer Recognition Breakfast. The nomination process continues to evolve, and the breakfast event grows every year to recognize more nominees. It’s always wonderful to read the stories and see how individuals, companies, and groups in our community make a difference through volunteerism.

The most challenging role of the Outstanding Volunteer Awards is for United Way’s Quarton Leadership Society Committee. This group of volunteers leads the difficult task of selecting the finalists in each volunteer category. We receive so many great nominations, and these volunteers read, score, and then reread and score again. Finally as a group, they decide which volunteers move on as finalists.

“Every year it gets increasingly more difficult to select who is going to be a finalist for the outstanding volunteer awards. The credit is due to the volunteers who contribute their time and step up to the plate to represent volunteering efforts that better our community.” — Chris Wheeler, Quarton Committee member

Once the Quarton Society selects the award finalists, their names are added to United Way’s website for the public to vote on their favorite volunteer. This is where the fun begins! Local organizations, businesses, families, and friends rally behind and support the volunteers.

The top vote in each category (Youth, Adult, Senior, Business, and Group) determines the winner. These winners then donate $500 to the nonprofit of their choice. United Way will recognize all nominees, finalists, and winners at the Volunteer Recognition Breakfast on Friday, April 15.

Currently, the volunteer nomination process is easy to use and doesn’t require a huge amount of effort to nominate stellar volunteers. In fact, we encourage nominators to keep their answers brief, which is why we use maximum word counts (50–75 words) for the three questions.

In addition to meeting the rewards criteria, here are three tips to help us notice your nominee:

  • Make clear points demonstrating what the volunteer has accomplished. Who have they made an impact on, how many people did their volunteer activity affect, and how did the nominee achieve this?
  • Be sure to mention how your volunteer came up with a new idea or innovative approach to solve a problem and how their idea benefited volunteers/your organization/community members.
  • If your nominee was not selected as a finalist, you can still nominate them next year. Each year there is a different pool of nominees and your volunteer could easily move to the forefront in next year’s finalists. Some years, we may receive several volunteers doing similar activities, and generally, we will select the one with the greatest impact.

We’re accepting nominations now through February 19, so be sure to nominate a volunteer today!