10 Creative (and Cheap) Ways to Recognize Volunteers

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We all know that volunteers are indispensable, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to give them the appreciation they deserve. Let’s face it, we’re all on a budget, so saying thank you to volunteers can add up really quickly.

Here are some creative ways that you can make sure they feel appreciated without having to break the bank.

1. Write it out

Sending a thoughtful card is quickly becoming a thing of the past. But it’s one of the simplest and most meaningful ways that you can communicate value to a volunteer. After all, who doesn’t love slicing open a handwritten note?

2. Share your love of reading

A good book has the power to impact someone’s life. The next time you read something that brings you value, buy a few extra copies for your volunteers. Write a personal note in the front to acknowledge how they add value to your organization!

3. Throw a party

Having a special evening for fun and fellowship is a great way to recognize your volunteers. One church in Fort Worth recently threw an “80s Throwback Prom” for their volunteer team, complete with a chocolate fountain, balloon arches, and a DJ. Okay, this may not be the cheapest way to thank your volunteers, but nothing says “we appreciate you” like a pastor in an orange tux!

4. Put them in the headlines

Who doesn’t enjoy a little attention? If you have a newsletter, blog, or social media account, create a regular feature to highlight an exceptional volunteer. Most people would appreciate the recognition.

5. Feed them

The way to your volunteer’s hearts might truly be through their stomachs. Providing breakfast or snacks is an easy way to dote on your volunteers, and it ensures that nobody comes to the program hangry.

6. Use a microphone

Give a shout out from the stage to someone who has gone the extra mile as a volunteer. Everyone loves to be told they are doing a great job, especially if the praise comes from a leader of your organization.

7. Use your camera

Take pictures of your volunteers throughout the year, and compile a video to be shown in a service or at a special event. Not only will it encourage your existing volunteers, but it might also inspire others to sign up.

8. Recruit other “thankers”

Instead of thanking them directly, engage others in conveying your mutual appreciation. Have kids make cards for volunteer leaders of children’s activities, encourage group members to pitch in on a gift to their leader, or ask students to create a fun skit or video for their youth volunteer.

9. Share an experience

Plan a mystery dinner, attend a baseball game, or host a tea party in your home. Spending quality time together is a powerful way to convey your gratitude, plus it’s a fun way to get to know your team.

10. Give of yourself

One of the best ways to encourage your volunteers is simply to be engaged in their lives. Remember milestones like birthdays and anniversaries. Be available when they need you. Even something as simple as attending a child’s sporting activity can communicate how much you care. The most priceless gift that you have to share is yourself!

Get Rewarded

We at VOMO love to find ways to say “thank you” to volunteers. That’s why we’ve partnered with several organizations that share our passion and help us provide rewards like gift cards and e-books for volunteers. Find out more at the VOMO Rewards page.

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