Volunteers are a crucial aspect of just about any nonprofit. These selfless men and women take time out of their lives to help your organization because they believe in it and its mission. Unfortunately, as important and moving as that is, sometimes those sacrifices get overlooked in the daily hustle and bustle. It’s easy to thank someone when they donate a large sum of money, but do we ever take the time to thank those who donate a part of their life?
If you’re looking for ways to recognize your volunteers, there are plenty of ways to do this that don’t require much but your willingness to show them how much you appreciate their time and effort. Here are some ideas:
As you know, your volunteers aren’t in it for the money, fame or recognition. This is one reason why you don’t have to go all out to show your appreciation (although that also isn’t a bad idea). That being said, you can never underestimate the value of a simple thank you. Most volunteers spend hours and hours in the trenches, working a thankless job. A quick conversation and thank you from someone in charge can do a world of wonder and let them know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
As much as a quick word of thanks can do wonders, so can another quick gesture — the hand-written note. It always brightens up a person’s day when they receive a note like this out of the blue. It’s a small gesture, to be sure, but it’s one that takes time and effort on your part; that’s time and effort they’ll acknowledge and appreciate.
Little notes like this are also special because they can be saved and enjoyed for weeks or years to come, each time bringing back that sense of recognition and helping to renew their commitment.
While your volunteers certainly aren’t in it for the money, spending a little bit of money to show them your appreciation is certainly a gesture that will not go unnoticed. One enjoyable way to spend that money is through a special event — like a gala. It doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy, but everyone loves the chance to get dressed up and have a festive evening once in a while. Maybe spice up the event by giving out gifts or certificates of appreciation to make the the evening even more enjoyable.
Social Media Shout-outs
With the advent of Facebook and other social media outlets, it’s now easier than ever to give your volunteers the recognition they deserve. Your nonprofit should already have a social media presence (if you don’t, that’s a whole different topic that needs to be addressed) which means you have a built-in audience for your shout-outs. Shoot a video that takes the time to showcase a handful of volunteers — who they are, what work they do and why they have chosen to volunteer their time and energy for your cause. Take a few extra minutes to make it look nice and professional (something just about anyone can do with technology these days) and then put it out there on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and whatever social media outlets you’ve built a presence on.
A video like this can actually accomplish two things: for starters, it gives your volunteers the recognition they deserve. Second, though, is that it can let other people know about some of the volunteer opportunities available. As many volunteers as you have, there are others out there in the community who want to volunteer, they just don’t know how. A video like this can show them what possibilities are available to them, and get them excited about the prospect of volunteering.
Volunteers aren’t in it for the money. They recognize that your organization needs to use its resources wisely, and they certainly don’t want to get in the way of that. That being said, volunteers want to know that what they are doing matters and is making a difference, and spending a little bit of time, effort and energy is the perfect way to show them how much they are appreciated.
Are there other ways you could show them your appreciation? Of course there are — these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg!