27 Ways To Thank & Encourage Volunteers

With volunteers contributing so much to the success of organisations, community projects and groups, ensuring they are recognised, appreciated and valued for all they do is essential. Here are some ideas to help you get started.

  1. Create a volunteer appreciation wall in your office or online. Display photos, quotes and stories of your volunteers and their achievements. Invite other staff and beneficiaries to leave comments and feedback.
  2. Organise a volunteer recognition event or ceremony. Invite all your volunteers and their families, your staff, board members and donors. Present awards, certificates or tokens of appreciation to your volunteers. Have a guest speaker or a beneficiary share their testimonial or impact story.
  3. Give your volunteers a shoutout on social media. Tag them in your posts and stories, and use hashtags like #VolunteerAppreciation or #ThankAVolunteer. Highlight their accomplishments and skills, and encourage others to join your volunteer program.
  4. Send your volunteers a gift basket or a care package. Include items that are relevant to your organisation's cause, such as books, stickers, mugs, t-shirts or masks. Add a handwritten card or a letter with a personal message.
  5. Feature your volunteers in your newsletter or blog. Interview them about their motivations, experiences and learnings as volunteers. Share their insights and tips with your audience and subscribers.
  6. Offer your volunteers professional development opportunities. Provide them with access to online courses, webinars, workshops or mentoring sessions that can help them enhance their skills or learn new ones. Connect them with experts or leaders in your field or sector.
  7. Nominate your volunteers for external awards or recognition programs. Research and apply for local, national or international awards that celebrate volunteerism and social impact. Showcase your volunteers' achievements and stories to a wider audience and network.
  8. Invite your volunteers to join your board or advisory committee. Give them a voice and a vote in your organisation's decision-making process. Value their opinions and feedback, and involve them in strategic planning and evaluation.
  9. Host a volunteer appreciation lunch or dinner. Treat your volunteers to a delicious meal at a restaurant or a catered venue. Make it fun and festive with music, games or trivia. Toast to their success and thank them for their service.
  10. Give your volunteers a day off or a flexible schedule. Allow them to take some time off from their regular duties and responsibilities. Let them choose when and how they want to volunteer, and respect their availability and preferences.
  11. Provide your volunteers with letters of recommendation or references. Help them advance their careers or education by writing positive and detailed letters that highlight their skills, achievements and impact as volunteers. Be ready to vouch for them if they need you as a reference.
  12. Create a volunteer of the month or year award. Recognise one outstanding volunteer each month or year based on their performance, contribution and commitment. Announce the winner on your website, newsletter or social media, and present them with a plaque, trophy or certificate.
  13. Give your volunteers feedback and recognition badges. Provide them with constructive and timely feedback on their work and progress. Award them with digital or physical badges that represent their skills, accomplishments or milestones as volunteers.
  14. Make a donation in honor of your volunteers. Choose a cause or an organisation that aligns with your mission and values, and that your volunteers care about. Make a donation in their name, and let them know how much you appreciate their generosity and support.
  15. Invite your volunteers to an exclusive event or activity. Organise a special event or activity that is only for your volunteers, such as a movie night, a museum tour, a yoga class or a picnic. Make it fun and relaxing, and use it as an opportunity to bond with them.
  16. Give your volunteers access to perks and discounts. Partner with local businesses or organisations that offer discounts or freebies to volunteers, such as coffee shops, gyms, theaters or stores. Give your volunteers coupons, vouchers or membership cards that they can use to enjoy these benefits.
  17. Ask your volunteers for testimonials or reviews. Encourage them to share their stories and experiences as volunteers on platforms like Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews or Yelp. Use their testimonials or reviews to promote your organisation and attract more volunteers.
  18. Celebrate your volunteers' birthdays and anniversaries. Send them cards, emails or messages on their special days. Wish them well and thank them for being part of your organisation. Surprise them with balloons, flowers, cakes or cupcakes if possible.
  19. Create a volunteer newsletter or group chat. Keep your volunteers updated on your organisation's latest news, events and opportunities. Share relevant resources, tips and best practices with them. Encourage them to communicate and collaborate with each other.
  20. Give your volunteers a challenge or a project. Assign them a task or a project that is challenging but achievable, and that matches their interests and skills. Support them throughout the process, and celebrate their results and outcomes.
  21. Ask your volunteers for feedback and suggestions. Conduct surveys, interviews or focus groups with your volunteers to get their opinions and ideas on improving your organisation and your volunteer program. Implement their feedback and suggestions, and acknowledge their input.
  22. Create a volunteer handbook or guide. Provide your volunteers with a comprehensive and user-friendly document that outlines your organisation's mission, vision, values, policies and procedures. Include information on volunteer roles, responsibilities, expectations and benefits.
  23. Give your volunteers a tour of your organisation or facility. Show them around your office, warehouse, workshop or site. Introduce them to your staff, board members, donors and beneficiaries. Explain how your organisation operates and what impact it makes.
  24. Create a volunteer referral program. Encourage your volunteers to invite their friends, family or colleagues to join your organisation as volunteers. Reward them with incentives, such as gift cards, merchandise or recognition, for each successful referral they make.
  25. Give your volunteers opportunities to network and socialise. Introduce them to other volunteers, staff, board members, donors and beneficiaries who share their interests, passions or goals. Organise networking events or social gatherings where they can mingle and connect with each other.
  26. Give your volunteers a sneak peek or a preview. Share exclusive or confidential information or news about your organisation's plans, projects or programs with them. Ask for their feedback or input, and let them know that they are valued and trusted members of your organisation.
  27. Create a volunteer mentorship program. Pair up new or inexperienced volunteers with seasoned or skilled volunteers who can guide them, coach them and support them in their volunteer journey. Encourage them to meet regularly and exchange feedback and advice.

Give your volunteers personal shoutouts or acknowledgements. Mention their names and thank them publicly during meetings, events or ceremonies. Praise their work and impact in front of other volunteers, staff, board members, donors and beneficiaries.

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