In the nonprofit world, volunteer appreciation is crucial for people who give their time and talents to organizations. But do we actually spend enough time recognizing these individuals?
Almost half of all public charities rely on volunteers to operate. According to the Urban Institute, Americans give over 8 billion hours annually to various organizations. These individuals help fill vital gaps in service in their local communities. Without the support of our volunteers, many organizations would not function properly.
Acknowledging volunteers’ efforts is important for their retention and engagement. It can also cultivate them to become lifelong supporters of the organization they’re helping.
Some Ways You Can Show Appreciation For Your Volunteers
A simple thank you gift is a great way to show your appreciation. Although pens, t-shirts, and coffee mugs are nice, these items can quickly become overwhelming for the volunteers’ drawers and cupboards.
Consider giving them something appropriate for their age and needs. For instance, while your college-aged volunteers may appreciate t-shirts, those who are less likely to be excited about getting more “stuff” may prefer something more useful like gift certificates to a local coffee shop or restaurant.
Personal Development Opportunities
While your volunteers are helping to improve the lives of others in your community, what can your organization do to help them succeed? Consider helping a young volunteer secure their college dream or giving an enthusiastic volunteer a voice in the organization.
Celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week
Some organizations have their own Volunteer Appreciation Day or dinner to recognize all the volunteers’ work. It can be a great way to boost participation and engage supporters.
Thank Your Volunteers Often
One of the easiest ways to show your appreciation is by taking the time to thank your volunteers, with a note or an email. To make sure that you’re honoring your volunteers in the right way, focus on their specific gifts. For instance, if they arrive with a big smile to the soup kitchen, ready to help, acknowledge it. Every small act of kindness from your organization can make a big difference in the way your volunteers engage with the public on your behalf.