NSW Volunteer o

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are a great opportunity to recognise, acknowledge and celebrate the volunteers that go above and beyond in their community service. 

The Centre for Volunteering receives thousands of nominations each year, so how can you make yours stand out?

To support you in taking part in one of Australia’s premier volunteer celebrations, we’re sharing the top tips for nominating with impact.

1: Understand why to nominate

To write a nomination that stands out, you first need to understand the reasons and benefits of doing so. While a volunteer may not ask for recognition, being nominated in the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is a great honour, and an impactful way to express gratitude to your volunteers.

Acknowledging your volunteers for going above and beyond helps them feel valued. In turn, this can boost morale, retention rates, and the reputation of both yourself and your organisation.

Volunteer nominations can also be used for reporting, team building activities, and to recognise the value of your organisation as a whole.

Once you understand the benefits of nominating, you can start to learn more about how to nominate.

2: Understand how to nominate

To make the nomination process easier, it’s important to read the  2024 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards page and the Frequently Asked Questions. Preparing to nominate includes familiarising yourself with the eligibility, how to nominate, and nomination guidelines.

The Nomination for Recognition Only section allows the organisation to nominate every volunteer within their organisation without singling out one particular volunteer if that’s what you prefer.  The Awards have a Bulk Nomination form for those organisations nominating over 20 volunteer. Please email award@volunteering.com.au for Bulk Nomination details.

In addition, the Nomination for Judging section allows organisations to highlight one or more of their volunteers or volunteer teams who have gone over and above over the past 12 months and made extraordinary contributions to their community and / or organisation.

The decision to Nominate For Recognition or Nominate For Judging might depend on your time, resources, and the comfort levels of your volunteers. Either way, it is the highest honour to be awarded by the state peak body for your volunteering, so both are great options.

Make sure you understand what’s required before nominating.


3: Decide who to nominate

At The Centre, we celebrate the value that all volunteers bring to their organisations. Deciding which of your volunteers to put forward for nominations can be difficult, so here are a few suggestions:

  • Consider the dedication, impact, regional distribution, and contributions over the past 12 months of your volunteers.
  • Come together as a team and ask your staff for their input.
  • Consider the most appropriate Award category for your potential nominees. Volunteers who aren’t comfortable being recognised as individuals can still be recognised as part of a Volunteer Team, for example.

Ultimately, a nomination for any of your volunteers is one of the most meaningful ways to offer public recognition for their service to the community.

4: Collaborate and delegate

Nominations for the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards don’t have to be one person’s responsibility. A process of collaborating and delegating as a team can be effective.

Consider the strengths of your team and how they can be applied for efficiency and for the best possible outcome. For example, if one coworker is skilled in research, they might collect the information that’s needed, while another coworker with a talent for writing composes the nomination.

Use the resources that are available to you, including your team, to get the most of your nomination.

5: Collect the information

Keeping track of your volunteers and their contributions to an organisation will make the nomination process for the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards noticeably easier.

Collect and keep a record of your volunteers’ work throughout the year, including their roles and responsibilities, testimonials, stories, data, photos and anything else that might help your nomination stand out.

6: Make it interesting

Every year, we receive thousands of nominations for The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. One of the top tips for nominating is to ensure yours is well-written.

For example, using emotive language and ensuring that your writing is clear and easy to read will make your nomination more memorable. As a result, you can create a more compelling argument for your volunteers.

Make sure you only include details that are directly related to the question. Be succinct, limit your word count, and relate the work your volunteer has done back to what is being asked.

Pay attention to areas such as spelling, grammar and punctuation, to make sure your nomination stands it out only for the right reasons.

7: Show the impact

In your nomination, it’s important to show the impact that your nominee has had. Consider:

  • Any special roles or skills that set them apart
  • The ways they go above and beyond
  • The value of their contribution to your staff, the community you serve and other volunteers
  • Their dedication and investment in your organisation

Include testimonials and quotes from staff members or clients to support your case.

8: Start early

The amount of time it takes to write a nomination can depend on the size of your organisation and how many volunteers you are nominating. For some, it can take at least a week to complete them all.

When preparing to nominate, make sure to start the process as early as possible. Collecting information, drafting, and learning about the nomination guidelines as soon as possible allows you to develop a more persuasive case for your nominees.

Avoid rushing as much as possible, and take your time.

9: Get consent first

Before nominating a volunteer, you must make sure they are aware and consenting. While the Awards are a great chance to offer public recognition for your team, they are only effective when everyone involved is comfortable.

Some people may have safety, wellbeing, access concerns or personal reasons for not wanting to be nominated.

Learn more about the nomination guidelines.

10: Don't hesitate

While nominations might feel like a daunting process, at the end of the day, it’s about thanking and celebrating your volunteers with one of the highest honours available to them.

Nominating is a powerful gesture of gratitude and acknowledgement, and an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved.

So, don’t hesitate to get involved. Take part by nominating in the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.



More Information

About the Awards