Everyone, no matter what they do, wants to know that their work matters and is appreciated. This is especially true of volunteers who donate their time and hard work without compensation. They need to know that what they are doing is appreciated and makes a difference. A great way to do this for your volunteers is to host a volunteer appreciation dinner. Hosting a dinner for your volunteers not only celebrates them, it’s also a way to reward them for all of their efforts. Keep reading for some tips on setting up an appreciation dinner.

Plan, plan, plan

There is nothing worse than a poorly planned event, especially if its meant to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment for others. Spend some time planning all the details of the event ahead of time. Here are just a few things you need to cover, but you may have more depending on your group: budget, venue, food, decorations, theme, and goal of the event.

One important thing to consider is who will be helping you set up and clean up. Of course, usually this would be the volunteers but it is up to you to organize who will be helping or if you want to ask other people to put on the event for your volunteers.

Ramp up the fun

Your volunteers work hard, so make your appreciation dinner a place for them to cut loose and have fun with each other. Have a themed party that asks volunteers to dress up for the occasion (for example: a luau, a Halloween costume party, an 80s party, etc). You can also have some fun games planned, so they have a chance to get to know each other outside of a workplace mentality.

Prepare a guest gift

For an extra special touch, have a gift for each volunteer to take home with them. It could be sentimental, like a photo of your group’s project, or simple like candy. Anything to let them know that you appreciate them. Some gift ideas include: gas gift cards, movie tickets, coupons from local restaurants, recognition mementos, or a photo album.

Use social media

Speak your millennial volunteers’ language by using social media to show your gratitude for volunteers. Putting a picture on your Instagram or Facebook account and tagging them (with their permission) is a great way to interact with your millennial volunteers. Not only do you make an impact on them, but you also open the door for them to have conversations with their friends about your organization.