Thank Your Volunteers by Showing Them Your Appreciation

GrantWatch knows that running a nonprofit is a lot of work and that many nonprofits are overwhelmingly understaffed. However, this makes it all the more reason to be thankful for your volunteers. Thanking your volunteers makes them feel valued and appreciated! When your organization acknowledges a volunteer’s time and efforts, it makes a huge impression on the people who sacrifice their unpaid time on behalf of your organization.

Many nonprofits could not do what they do without their volunteers. So, why not thank them for their hard work? Just like you thank a donor after a financial gift, you should thank your volunteers when they donate their valuable time to your organization. Below, we’re sharing five insightful tips to help you thank your volunteers!

1. Timing Matters

When you have volunteers, you must create time on your schedule to thank those individuals within a few days of them providing their volunteer hours. If you’re worried, you won’t have time or might forget, find ways to make it easier on yourself! For example, if you’re writing thank you notes, keep thank you cards, envelopes and stamps on your desk, in your travel bag and in your car. That way, no matter where you are, you can carve out a few minutes to thank your volunteers. Regularly showing appreciation for your volunteers will enhance the validation of their work, resulting in lower turnover and increased production from your volunteers. Consider your thank you to them to be a promotional task on behalf of your nonprofit. 

2. Consistency Is Key

It’s essential to set a standard for how you thank your volunteers. Once you set a standard for how you thank them, ensure your organization enforces that policy. If you have a lot of repeat volunteers or volunteers that work closely together as a large group, it is best to make every effort to thank each of those volunteers within the same timeframe. Always keep in mind that volunteers donate their valuable time to your organization. If not regularly thanked for their contribution of time, they might feel unappreciated and undervalued. As a result, they may re-direct their time and attention elsewhere. A lot of nonprofits even outline their thank you policy as part of their training manual. For example, if financial contributions are acknowledged within two business days, a similar standard should be set for individuals who contribute volunteer hours.

3. Be Genuine

Providing a genuine thank you to volunteers is something every organization should do. Take the time to personalize thank-you notes to your volunteers. Thank them for a specific volunteer act they recently completed. Oftentimes, you have spent one-on-one time working side-by-side with these individuals. Hopefully, as a result of spending that time with them directly, you have gained a unique perspective that will enable you to personalize your acknowledgment for each volunteer. Making volunteers feel like they’re ‘part of the team’ will go a long way to uplift and inspire your volunteers to do even more on behalf of your organization.

4. Think Big Picture

Most nonprofits would not exist without their loyal volunteers. Keeping volunteers feeling appreciated is key to any nonprofit’s growth. When a nonprofit acknowledges the connection between the work of its volunteers and their importance in helping the organization fulfill its mission, it becomes a win-win situation. Volunteers will feel valued. As a result, they will be more productive. Furthermore, it will keep them coming back to help over and over again!

5. Get Creative

There are a lot of fun ways to thank your volunteers other than using thank-you notes. For volunteers who support your organization consistently, consider calling them to acknowledge your gratitude for their service verbally.‍ A video can also be a great way to communicate your thanks to multiple volunteers. Everyone enjoys swag or branded gear. Loyal volunteers will proudly show off your organization’s logo to show their commitment to your mission. Gifting items like t-shirts or coffee mugs will also show appreciation to your volunteers. For volunteers who go ‘above and beyond,’ dedicating something in their name that supports your organization in their honor is a great option. For example, you could honor exceptional volunteers by naming a scholarship program after them.

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