National Volunteer Week was established by Richard Nixon in 1974 to inspire, recognize and encourage people to set aside time away from their families to volunteer. Volunteer appreciation is an act of gratitude that shows volunteers how important the work they are doing is to the success of your organization. By being intentional and showing your appreciation in small and large ways, you not only create a culture of gratitude, you pay a return on the volunteer’s effort and dedication to your mission. Does your organization have a budget for volunteer appreciation? Need some free or low cost volunteer appreciation ideas to show your employees how much you value their time and effort? Look no further.
Volunteer Appreciation Ideas that share the love.
- Have a party- Give awards or prizes to your volunteers during the party and publicly recognize the gift of their time and their achievement.
- Plan a “volunteer exclusive” fun group activity such as a movie night, mini-golf or amusement park. This will help your team to bond.
- Invite volunteers to share testimonials about their work with your organization – Feature those stories on your website, in your newsletters and on your social media.
- Have staff members share great experiences they’ve had working with your volunteers during staff meetings.
- Provide food for your volunteers when they work- It keeps them energized and shows that you care.
- Check in with your volunteers personally- Get feedback from the volunteer about their experience. Take their suggestions seriously and act on them.
- Send them a thank you card- Be specific and thank them for a specific task they did while volunteering.
- Give them small tokens of gratitude- such as a gift card. Reach out to local stores in your community to see if they will donate gift certificates or give a discount that you could use to reward your volunteers.
- Remember your volunteer’s names, introduce them to visitors and be sure to include them as part of the team. Reimburse them for any incurred expenses.
- Recognize good work when the work occurs. When you notice volunteers doing something well, let them know.
Volunteer appreciation is an important piece of both volunteer retention and volunteer recruitment within your organization. Without making the effort to regularly express your appreciation, you are likely to see high volunteer turnover and low volunteer satisfaction rates. The volunteer appreciation ideas we’ve share above are not only easy but inexpensive ways to share your gratitude to your organization’s most valuable asset. William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Be sure to thank your volunteers for the gift of their time and their willing hearts and hands.