Excellence in Volunteering Awards

Our volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI. Without all our volunteers - crew, lifeguards, fundraisers, education presenters, shop, community safety, museum and others – the RNLI wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea.
Group shot of Lough Ree crew and station volunteers.

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

We couldn't save lives at sea without our selfless volunteers

Volunteers deserve recognition for the incredible contribution they make.

With our Excellence in Volunteering Awards, staff and volunteers can nominate fellow volunteers they think deserve special recognition for going above and beyond what is expected of them.

Do you know any volunteers who have gone the extra mile for the RNLI?

A simple thank you

If you’d prefer to send a simple thank-you card on behalf of the RNLI, email volunteer_recognition@rnli.org.uk.

Not a volunteer?

If you’re not an RNLI volunteer, and you would like to tell us about someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the charity, please let us know.

What is an Excellence in Volunteering Award?

The Excellence in Volunteering Awards recognise the special contribution of all RNLI volunteers. They are here to celebrate exceptional volunteering and to give you the chance to recognise fellow volunteers - those who have gone the extra mile. 

We're looking for volunteers who inspire or innovate; people who make a difference whether they are outstanding ambassadors or the unsung heroes who quietly ensure the success of any RNLI venture.

How will the awards be presented?

Awards will be presented locally but all awardees will be invited to attend a celebratory event in autumn 2017 to celebrate their achievements with other volunteers in their region. 

What will awardees receive?

All the awards have been specially designed for the Excellence in Volunteering scheme. They will vary depending on the level, from certificates to specially commissioned awards. On selected awards, we will offer the option to personalise. 

Thank-you cards for everyday use, where a formal nomination isn’t needed, can be ordered from volunteer_recognition@rnli.org.uk.

How will the awards be presented?

The nomination form will ask you for a dispatch address. Generally, we send the award to the nominator so they can make a presentation at a local level with fellow volunteers. We can also send the award straight to the awardee. These awards are not presented at the celebratory events.

The award categories

These awards are all about excellence in volunteering. The RNLI is fortunate to have around 35,000 volunteers in more than 100 different roles. We want the volunteer awards to be fair and consistent, so we've developed a system that recognises a considerable variety of contributions.

What we are looking for from Excellence in Volunteering awardees

Criteria for the awards were developed from RNLI values - selfless, trustworthy, dependable and courageous. We’ve combined these with other qualities taken from aspects of RNLI life (for example from the awards for gallantry) to create three broad categories, outlined below. Each category has three levels to cover the impact of contribution - local, regional or national.

Leadership and initiative

  • supporting or inspiring other volunteers
  • supporting or leading change. 

Courage and determination

  • rising to a challenge
  • demonstrating reliability, resolve or perseverance
  • demonstrating adaptability.

Skills and innovation

  • supporting or inspiring effective relationships
  • using or sharing expertise
  • embracing or leading innovation or best practice.

Preparing a nomination

To help us make a fair assessment, please provide a clear explanation of what your nominee has done and its impact on you, your team, your community or beyond. If you’re not sure how to present your nomination, read the nominee examples below to help.

We don’t expect nominees to display all the qualities at once and we understand that contributions that have a national or even international impact will always be exceptional. We’re looking for everyday heroes too!

Please complete the nomination with as much information as possible. We’re looking for a full, clear picture of how the nominee has gone the extra mile, so you need to be accurate, factual and informative.

What happens after I make a nomination?

When your nomination reaches us, it goes through a simple assessment. The whole process takes approximately 3 weeks from making the nomination until we dispatch the award. We will stay in touch with you throughout the process and keep you updated with the progress of your nomination. Higher level awards may take slightly longer to dispatch.

Make a nomination

When you’re ready to go ahead, fill in the volunteer award nomination form. You can also request a form from your RNLI staff contact or by calling the Volunteer Recognition Team on +44 (0)1202 663183.

Nominations for these awards can only be made by RNLI volunteers and staff. You’ll need to include your role and branch, station or team on the form.

Please note, this form should not be used to highlight long service.

long service awards

Every person who happily gives up their time to volunteer for the RNLI helps us to save lives at sea. The RNLI has always recognised this dedication and will continue to do so. Over the next year we will be bringing together long service recognition of all volunteers into one scheme. We’ll keep all volunteering teams up to date with progress, and hope to launch the new scheme in 2018.

Nominee examples

If you need some inspiration to write your nomination, take a look at the examples we’ve listed below:

Everyday heroes

‘A branch committee member supported the souvenir secretary at several recent events which we otherwise couldn’t have attended. He helped with transport and setting up the stand.’ 

‘An education volunteer spent the day helping at a busy regional event. It meant we could provide regular workshops and activities for over 100 children who attended the event with their parents. He helped set up the stall, chatted to visitors and generally made sure that youth education kept a high profile.’

‘An office-based volunteer assists with research and enquiries one day a week. On top of his regular duties, he has recently taken on and completed an indexing task that will provide an invaluable resource to other researchers and save a great deal of time.’

Making a splash

‘A lifeboat medical advisor who, over and above her usual duties, is supportive of the station and its team. She organised several health and fitness sessions which have caused some hilarity but have also been helpful in raising awareness of back care for crew. Several other stations in the area are now taking up her initiative.’

‘A crew member who is always ready to speak to fundraising groups and other visitors. The impact is tremendous and inspiring - and has even led to a significant donation to the boathouse appeal. He encourages other crew members to get involved and interact with their fundraising and education colleagues.’

‘A branch committee member who plays an active role in supporting branch activities and developing corporate fundraising, which resulted in the new boat appeal reaching its target in less than 3 months. She has also taken on a presenter’s role and has ensured every school on the island received key safety messages and many have now had the opportunity to see the station first hand.’

National treasures

‘A lifeboat operations manager who has managed the highly publicised closure of a neighbouring station with considerable tact and diplomacy, providing excellent media interviews and ensuring both the crew and the local community had support. He not only allayed local fears but has actually increased local support. He is now preparing best practice guidelines for other teams to use in similar situations. He has been an outstanding ambassador for the RNLI, whose management and leadership skills have had a national impact.’

‘A souvenir secretary who turned a failing shop and dispirited team into a dynamic and successful retail outlet. Achieved through careful management, good communication and a willingness to make some hard decisions, this group has now taken on a second shop as well as providing support to fundraising events throughout three counties. Embracing new initiatives and maximising their resources, the team is now one of the highest earning shop teams in the country thanks to the outstanding management and inspiring leadership of this individual.’

‘A very small branch who enjoy outstanding success in their town. They have developed a number of innovative fundraising initiatives, using their business and communication skills to the maximum. They readily share this with other branches, happily travelling some distance to attend other branch events or train other teams. The new models of community fundraising and establishment of highly successful partnerships are being adopted nationally. Their cheerful demeanour ensures that their support and guidance is always well received.’

contact us

For all queries relating to Excellence in Volunteering Awards, please email eva@rnli.org.uk or call 01202 663183 or 01202 336304.

For any other enquiries regarding volunteer recognition, please email volunteer_recognition@rnli.org.uk or phone 01202 663183 or 01202 336304.