Temple Beth Or has two programs which recognize the importance of voluntary participation in the congregation. Our Volunteer Shabbat is a simple yet effective event. At the beginning of each calendar year our membership chair e-mails each committee chair, board member, the rabbi, religious school administrator, the High Holy Days coordinator and the coordinators of other significant synagogue events to obtain a list of all members who have volunteered in any capacity, however small, for the congregation during the past year. The list is collated and printed as an addition to the weekly Shabbat bulletin for the Volunteer Shabbat service. At the service, the rabbi speaks about the significance of volunteers in the success of synagogue programming, recognizing those who contributed in the past year. The list is also printed in the monthly bulletin. This program both shows appreciation to volunteers and encourages members’ retention. The program thanks the volunteers noting, for example, that one year 150 individuals volunteered out of 140 households!
The second volunteer program is administered by our president. Twice a year the president chooses an individual who has made an outstanding contribution of time and energy to the congregation, introduces that individual at the semi-annual meeting for all members and has the person’s name engraved on the volunteer plaque. The president does not reveal the identity of the individual until the announcement is made. There is some anticipation among members as to who will be recognized.
For more ideas about how to create a culture of voluntary participation in your congregation and for many more ideas about how to recognize volunteers read Building Sacred Community: Volunteers in Your Congregation.
Learn more about National Volunteer Week.