Like donors who support an organization with monetary gifts, volunteers deserve recognition and thanks for their generous gift of time. Get inspired with these fun and creative ways to thank your nonprofit volunteers:

  1. Send them a card for their birthday
  2. Send a volunteer spotlight for a special volunteer to the local newspaper
  3. Set out a volunteer suggestion box
  4. Host an ice cream social for volunteers and their families
  5. Create a “thank you” tabletop display
  6. Reimburse travel expenses
  7. Offer to be a personal reference for young and/or job-seeking volunteers
  8. Provide awards, like certificates or ribbons
  9. Establish a volunteer honor roll
  10. Set out coffee and doughnuts in the morning
  11. Provide training opportunities for your volunteers
  12. Ask what else your volunteers would be interested in doing, or learning
  13. Host a surprise pizza party
  14. Send flowers
  15. Take interest in a volunteer’s personal or professional life
  16. Send a thank-you note to a volunteer’s supportive spouse or parent
  17. Openly praise your volunteers, especially in the company of their family and friends
  18. Let each volunteer know they were missed after a break
  19. Send get-well cards if a volunteer is hurt or sick
  20. Plan a volunteer outing, like a beachside BBQ, a pool party, or a day at a family fun center
  21. Encourage program recipients to send personal thank-you notes
  22. Provide child care
  23. Host a potluck lunch or dinner
  24. Organize an open house for your volunteers and their families
  25. Bounce new ideas off volunteers
  26. Distribute organization bumper stickers, hats, shirts, pens, etc
  27. Plant trees, roses or other plants in volunteers’ honor
  28. Remember to say “thank you” on a daily basis
  29. Provide water bottles and other refreshments, especially for outdoor volunteer activities
  30. Provide little favors at meetings
  31. Surprise your volunteers with mint candy, with a note saying “Thank you for your commit-mint!”
  32. Send valentines
  33. Have program recipients collaborate on a giant thank you card
  34. Host fun team-building games and events
  35. Send a gift card to Starbuck’s
  36. Highlight a volunteer in every newsletter
  37. Dedicate a column in your newsletter for upcoming volunteer birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, etc.
  38. Ask program participants to share success stories
  39. Provide scholarships to workshops and training events
  40. Host a monthly raffle for dinner or movie tickets
  41. Hold an annual appreciation celebration for your volunteers
  42. Share a volunteer’s personal success story
  43. For long-term volunteers, collect a vase of coins (one for each hour volunteered), and present them as a gift of appreciation
  44. Give new volunteers a little welcome gift
  45. Celebrate a volunteer’s personal accomplishments
  46. Ask after your volunteers’ children, spouse, pets, etc. Show you care for them as people
  47. Always recognize volunteers who leave your organization
  48. Present special awards for 1, 2, 3, 5, etc. years of service with your organization
  49. Create a fun slideshow of major volunteer events
  50. Celebrate major accomplishments and events with a potluck, tea party, or brunch

Remember, volunteer recognition is so much more than an annual dinner party; it should be a part of your organization’s weekly, and even daily, routine.