Why Contest System of Awarding May not be a Good Culminating Activity for Volunteer Organization

Culminating event is a closing of a term to make way for a new one. Some celebrate it with awards and recognition to acknowledge the valuable contributions of individual or group for a period of time. Giving awards and recognitions may not be mandatory but had it been decided to do so it must be done with a lot of care. It is important to note that culminating a term will give the final and long lasting impression of your leadership.

For a volunteer/community service organization, members are not paid and may even be spending for every projects and events being organized. All of them contribute their time, money, effort and other resources to help their community. Hence a culminating activity must leave in them a sense of joy. It is in this line that a “contest system” of awarding may not be a good idea in celebrating the end of the term. Why?

1) It is a win-lose situation. A volunteer who did not win an award may go home feeling a loser whereas she/he as a volunteer is a hero of her/his community. It does not give a good emotional/psychological impact on the volunteer.

2) To win a “contest” dilutes the noble purpose of volunteer: to give without expecting in return. Contest is a promise reward.

3) Culminating activity is best celebrated with a happy ending especially for the year’s acheivement in volunteer work. In the contest system, some who did not get the prize comes home feeling they failed their group/team or community.


4) The “contest” system is very close to carrot and stick leadership. “The winners take it all the loser standing small.”

Had award and recognition been decided to culminate a term, what then is a more recommended system in volunteer groups? The “acheivement system” a win-win aystem where all are recognized no matter how small the contribution maybe. Remember, they are volunteers, they did things for free and may even poured out their money, valuable time, precious effort and other resources. They deserve to be acknowledged even with just a printed certificate. The schools have come up with the most creative and innovative way to recognize even the a low performing student, hence teachers can be sought for their valuable help.

Again, there are no losers in voluntary work, make them go home smiling. 😊

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