by Alivia Acosta

Recognizing the Diverse Dedication of Volunteers

It is the diverse dedication of passionate individuals that keeps the Trail alive. From clearing blowdowns, to planning community events, and the administrative duties of submitting report forms, each action carries impact. Though many volunteers are happy to do what they love without many thanks, studies have shown that the majority of A.T. volunteers are driven by their motivation to produce desired results.

While intrinsic motivation is the driving force behind most dedicated volunteers, cultivating successful volunteer recruitment and retention starts with:

Authentically recognizing volunteers for their contributions
Ensuring programs are designed to provide results that they can see and be proud of
Increasing the awareness of volunteer programs

Whether promoting a volunteer event, leading a group of volunteers, or acknowledging the work of the individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes; communicating the importance and expected demands of a volunteer is a great way to initiate and maintain a culture of appreciation.
Appreciating the efficacy of a volunteer’s contributions can come in many other forms. ATC and APPA, the National Park Service Office for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, are also happy to provide a variety of programs that offer small tangible tokens of appreciation for the big things that volunteers do.

Another small way to thank an individual, or a group, for their contributions without any requirement for a certain number of hours, is to highlight their efforts in a Volunteer Spotlight. Volunteer Spotlights elevate the many ways in which volunteers contribute to the A.T. and can serve as inspirational knowledge bases for individuals who may not necessarily be aware volunteering on the A.T. can take a variety of shapes and forms.