Sometimes budget-conscious charity leaders think that spending time or money to show appreciation to volunteers is a frivolous activity.
But, I beg to disagree. In my opinion, doing small things regularly to show volunteers how much you appreciate their time and commitment to you cause is a great way to build a stronger volunteer community.
Thanking and appreciating volunteers is key, especially in today’s society, where most people seem to be incredibly busy and time has become their most valuable resource.
Here are a few things you can do to thank and appreciate your charity’s volunteers:
1. Send them a nice thank you card hand signed by members of your staff team;
2. Do something special for volunteers who have been serving with your charity for 5 years or more. You might consider purchasing some small gifts like mugs, pens, tie pins, etc and brand them with your charity’s logo. Send them a nice letter and a special gift on their 5 or 10 anniversary of serving with you to show them how much you appreciate their efforts and support;
3. Organise annual volunteer appreciation events – inviting volunteers to an afternoon tea or a buffet dinner in a local church. Get your mission workers to share their stories at these events and to thank volunteers directly;
4. Organise special appreciation events for people who do sponsored fundraising activities for your cause – they might not be volunteering regularly but they just run a marathon, or did a walk or a bike ride, etc.
Make sure you show appreciation to them by sending them a thank you note, interviewing them for your magazine or newsletter, doing something special with them on the day of the event they did. Whatever you do make sure you show your gratitude for their time, efforts and financial support;
5. Host any other fun activities for volunteers that you consider appropriate for your charity, its mission and geographical location.
My point is that by adding an appreciation element to your charity’s volunteer programme you will be standing apart from the crowd.
What’s more you will be ministering to your volunteers and helping to build a stronger sense of community and above all you will be encouraging them to continue to serve joyfully.