As we prepare for National Volunteer Week in April we wanted to share some fun and easy ways to thank volunteers. Volunteers are often humble and don't want or need any praise, but managers like to do things to recognize the hard work and commitment their volunteers make to the organization. Volunteers are essential to nonprofit organizations and often play key roles in programs and initiatives. Managers want to make them feel appreciated for the work they do and recognition equals retention, so it's a win, win for all.
Do you work with volunteers that you would like to recognize? Check out our list of fun, easy and inexpensive ways to honor the individuals that give their time and energy to your cause.
And, for more information about volunteering in your community, visit our site today. You can sign up to receive custom emails, subscribe to our newsletter and "like" us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!
Food, Food, Food
We know that food can spark positive attitudes and it promotes social activity. Bring some snacks and encourage volunteers to take a quick break and get to know each other.
Contact local eateries about donating a BOGO free coupon specifically for your volunteers. Put the coupons in a thank you card and wow your volunteers with unexpected mail.
Send a Birthday Wish
If you happen to keep your volunteers’ birthdays on record, make use of the milestone to show your appreciation. Surprise and delight a volunteer with a birthday card, or give them a shout out on social media.
Gifting volunteers for the gift of their time and expertise proves that their sacrifices don’t go unnoticed. And when your swag promotes your nonprofit brand, prospective supporters could be persuaded to join you. A win, win for both!
Don’t forget that volunteering for your nonprofit looks great on a resume. Offer to be a reference, or write a recommendation for connections on LinkedIn.
You Have to Believe
Volunteers work for you because they believe in you and your cause. Show supporters you believe in them, too. Cheer on a volunteer who’s running a marathon. Nominate one for an award in your community. Be in the audience when your volunteer delivers that big speech they told you about.
Share Their Impact
Creating a simple image like an infographic with key metrics detailing the volunteer program and how it impacted a community is a great way of demonstrating how their time and effort helped. In turn, volunteers can share that information on their social media channels, with friends and family and say, “I helped this effort, I made a difference.”
Ask for Opinions – Listen and Engage
Host a focus group or informal discussion with volunteers. It’s a great way to explain upcoming initiatives and engage with your volunteers while getting crucial feedback. Remember to listen; If you’re going to ask for an opinion, you owe it to that person to take what they say seriously. Engage; acknowledge their ideas and ask them how it’s going and how it could be better?
Write a Blog or Social Media Post
Did you launch a new initiative that far exceeded expectations? Don’t just say ‘thanks’ to the volunteer, show your supporters that you’re grateful for them by telling their story on your social pages or on your blog.
Does your organization have a membership program or fee associated with a visit? Arrange for volunteers to have passes or a waived membership fee in exchange for their hard work.
Research volunteer awards that are given out in your community and submit a nomination. Do you have an extraordinary individual volunteering for you? Nominate them for The President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Host a Car Wash for Volunteers
Volunteers give their time to others, so they often have less time for themselves. Turn the tables on your volunteers and serve them by organizing a car wash. Gather your staff and wash all the volunteers’ cars to thank them for doing so much for others!
Little Things Matter
Who doesn’t like receiving a roll of lifesavers with a “You’re a lifesaver!” note attached or a candle with a “You make our organization shine!” post-it notes? And what about a birthday card with a few words of thanks and a coupon for a free cup of coffee? Little things go a long way!
Say “THANK YOU”
Above all else, a simple, heartfelt “thank you” can make the difference in someone’s opinion of their experience and your organization. Don’t forget to tell them how they’ve helped you too. Remind them that it’s volunteers like them who make your job a joy!