Creative Ways To Appreciate Your Nonprofit Volunteers
Volunteers are the lifeblood of your nonprofit. They give their time freely because of a passion for the cause it serves. Without their help, your nonprofit wouldn’t function in the same way, which is why it’s so important to give gratitude when you can. Volunteer appreciation is about recognizing those priceless, wonderful, selfless people who sacrifice their time, money, or energy to serve. Here are a few reasons why it matters:
1. All humans need to be recognized in a meaningful way for their efforts.
People want to know that their work makes a difference. This helps build self-esteem, motivation, confidence, and community. Recognition is essential in keeping volunteers around and returning to serve. When volunteers feel appreciated and important, they’re more likely to feel connected to the nonprofit organization and continue their involvement. Being recognized for their efforts will make them feel at home.
2. Volunteers often don’t just donate their time but their money as well.
Those actively involved in their community want to give their money to causes they care about. One survey discovered that most volunteers are donors, and donors are most often volunteers.
The two roles are closely intertwined. In one survey, 70% of donors volunteered the prior year, with some giving 50 hours or more to their charity. The same study also found that half of the volunteers say they give because they volunteer.
3. Appreciated volunteers are more likely to become passionate ambassadors.
A spirited volunteer culture brings your members closer together and ignites the light within others. When volunteers feel good about their work serving nonprofits, they’re more likely to tell their friends or community members. Volunteers who feel recognized and appreciated for their efforts become enthusiastic ambassadors, inspiring others to serve. This sounds great, but you may wonder how to develop creative ideas to show your volunteers that you appreciate them. It can feel like an impossible task but fear not; we got you covered. Here are eleven ways to let your donors and volunteers know that you appreciate them and their work for your nonprofit.
1. Don’t underestimate the power of words.
It’s important to verbalize volunteer value regularly. The words ‘Thank you are two words we don’t say enough sometimes. These two powerful words go a long way and can encourage your volunteers and increase loyalty.
2. Give a handwritten letter or card.
Here’s an example:
Dear [Volunteer’s Name],
I appreciate your dedication to [Name of Volunteer Program or nonprofit]. Your compassion and kindness toward others in our community inspire all members of our congregation—[Acknowledge the specific role your volunteer played or a particular strength of the volunteer].
We are incredibly grateful for and humbled by your efforts, and we want you to know that your work has not gone unnoticed. Thank you again for all that you do.
3. Utilize your nonprofit's mobile app to connect.
Handwritten cards and letters are thoughtful and provide a nice touch, but you can also use your nonprofit's mobile app and texting to show appreciation quickly and efficiently. Sending an encouraging and appreciative text before or after a member's service can significantly affect how they feel going into (or leaving) a volunteer event.
4. Throw a celebration dinner.
Hold a special evening just for your nonprofit's volunteers, serving as a fancy culmination party for all their accomplishments throughout the year. You could even make it as fun and straightforward as a pizza party, a potluck, or something more formal. Think about other nonprofit volunteer appreciation dinner ideas you can use, like picking a theme for your gathering or reserving a particular location for the event.
5. Take photos of your volunteers serving and post them on social media.
Thank them through your nonprofit Facebook page or any other social media you might use. Take lots of photos and tag them. Your volunteers are very proud of what they do and will love that you’re celebrating their work.
6. Offer to write letters of reference for students volunteering with you.
Don't forget that volunteering for any area within the nonprofit realm looks excellent on a CV or resume. Offer to be a reference or write a letter of recommendation.
7. Provide refreshments and snacks regularly at volunteer events.
Set up a coffee, hot cocoa, or dessert bar for your volunteer team. Be sure to include a sign that shares your thankfulness for the volunteers who serve.
8. Tell your volunteer stories.
Take the time to interview your volunteers and write up a few stories to share via the nonprofit website, mobile app, or newsletter.
By putting the spotlight on them and the incredible ways they're serving the nonprofit, you'll make them feel special, but their stories will help inspire others to step up and do.
9. Listen to your volunteers and engage with their ideas.
Volunteers often have great ideas and fresh perspectives. Give them regular opportunities to provide feedback and share their ideas through digital forms and surveys.
Listening to people who regularly serve your nonprofit day in and day out is critical to showing appreciation for volunteers and gauging the health of your volunteer culture.
10. Show them how they fit into the big picture.
No matter how small or insignificant the task may seem like every volunteer wants to see how their cause connects to the nonprofit's vision.
Remind them regularly that their work is essential to the nonprofit's mission. Show them how they're making a difference—share success stories, include stats from the day, how many people they've served, and what the overall results were of their work.
Knowing how they've impacted their community makes them feel fulfilled and deepens their sense of purpose.
By following these steps, your volunteers will feel happy and appreciated. Using these tips will build a great sense of community for your nonprofit.
In 2013, we saw an opportunity to use our gifts to strengthen church communities. To make participation easier. To extend engagement beyond Sunday. We merged our big tech experience and our deep love for the community to build tech that activates real-world relationships.
From day one, we have created ways to help churches engage anytime, anywhere. Over the years, we have innovated and combined our tech, transforming it into Aware3 as the platform is known today. Digital + physical, member + leader, engagement + insights… every day, we seek to facilitate togetherness in some way. Visit Aware3 at https://aware3.com/ .
Visit www.zgive.com to learn more about simple, smart digital auction fundraising.