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The importance of saying thank you
People appreciate being recognized for their efforts and although volunteers do not give their time because they expect (or want) to be lavished with praise, a quick thank you can go a long way. Just as you would thank a donor who supports your nonprofit with a monetary gift or donation, volunteers deserve a proper thank you for their gift – the donation of their time.

When volunteers feel appreciated and important, they are more likely to feel a connection to the initiative and continue their involvement in future projects or events. Recognizing participation and effort will also lead to new volunteers stepping forward next time your nonprofit hosts an project or puts out a call for a few helping hands.

So how can you express genuine appreciation to your volunteers?
There are countless ways to say thank you, so it’s up to you to keep your gratitude original, fresh, and creative!

How you express gratitude can vary from person to person and should be based on factors such as the volunteer’s age, the amount of time they have spent at the organization, their personality, etc. It’s not the cost or size of the recognition that matters, but the genuineness of the gesture that makes it count.

To help get your creative wheels turning, check out the following fun ways to say thank you to your nonprofit volunteers – we can still show our gratitude and appreciation even during these times of quarantine. 

  1. Social media shoutout – share photos from an event and be sure to tag your volunteers
  2. Send them a card on their birthday
  3. Offer to be a reference or write a letter of recommendation for your young or job-seeking volunteers
  4. Send flowers
  5. Set out a volunteer suggestion box- getting feedback is important in maintaining a positive environment and experience for your employees as well as your volunteers
  6. Write a thank you card
  7. Give them a call to say thank you- it can be as simple as that!
  8. Offer training opportunities to your volunteers
  9. Highlight a volunteer in your newsletter- this could be showcasing their efforts on a project or sharing a personal success story of theirs
  10. Arrange for a vendor to donate a good or service such as gift card, meal voucher, or movie tickets
  11. Create certificates of participation for your volunteers
  12. Remember to say “thank you” on a daily basis
  13. Organize team-building games and events online
  14. Create a volunteer hall of fame
  15. Send new volunteers a small welcome gift

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