Volunteer Appreciation Ideas
Heartfelt Ideas for Showing Appreciation to Do-Gooder Volunteers
National Volunteer Week, the third week in April, is for recognizing the amazing do-gooders across the country that dedicate their time to helping others. Whether they join in a non-profit organization’s efforts, volunteer at a local school, participate in a community mutual aid group or simply offer to help out an elderly neighbor – SignUp’s got some fun, heartfelt ideas for showing volunteers some much-deserved appreciation this season. (Pro Tip: Check out our free printable appreciation certificates for simple and sweet mementos to share.)
Celebrating the Volunteers in Your Life
A small gift with a simple note goes a long way when it comes to making someone feel appreciated. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination:
Hand Mirror: “This amazing person makes a huge difference – thanks for volunteering!”
Candle: “No one holds a candle to you – thank you for all you do!”
Flashlight: “You light the way – thanks for your glowing enthusiasm!”
Four Leaf Clover (keychain, pin, or pocket stone): “I’m so LUCKY to have you in my life!”
Gold Chocolate Coins: “Volunteers are worth their weight in gold – you are appreciated!”
Ruler or Tape Measure: “It’s easy to measure the difference you make – you’re awesome!”
Mixed Nuts: “You’re my favorite volunteer – I would go nuts without you!”
Print or write a quote relating to volunteerism, frame it and give it to your favorite volunteer so they can display it on their desk or on the wall – a daily reminder of how appreciated they are!
Make a homemade treat for your favorite do-gooder.
Pay it forward in the name of your hero volunteers by donating to their favorite charity on their behalf.
Write a grateful thank you letter that explains how the volunteer has had an impact on your life.
Showing Volunteer Appreciation as an Organization
Designate someone to take photos of volunteers doing good at various events throughout the year. Print a photo of each volunteer you want to thank and place it inside a card with a handwritten personal note – a great way to say thank you in a very personal way. (Pro Tip: To send real handwritten notes at scale, check out SimplyNoted!)
For businesses that allow employees to organize volunteer days, send a thank you note (handwritten or email) to the employer for sharing such treasured resources – be sure to include the names of the volunteers.
Ask local merchants to join you in recognizing volunteers by donating gift cards or special discounts on their services or products. Think restaurants, boutique clothing stores, gift shops, movie theaters, gas stations… you get the gist. Design a Volunteer Appreciation Week flyer (Canva is a cool free tool for this) with a list of the participating businesses. Then print and hand out a flyer with a gift card or coupon to each volunteer you want to recognize, and use the digital flyer to post a special thanks to the businesses on social media. Volunteers get tokens of appreciation and local businesses get feel-good marketing (and karma) – it’s a win-win!
Host a volunteer recognition event (in person or online) to verbally give thanks to the volunteers making a difference to your organization. Don't forget SignUp’s free volunteer appreciation certificates to hand out or mail to each volunteer!
Publish a series of volunteer feature posts on social media, in your newsletter and/or on your website, thanking an individual volunteer for their contribution in each post. Be sure to include a photo of the volunteer if you have one!
Make appreciation placemats by printing photos of your volunteers, attaching them to legal paper and laminating them – use the placemats at company potlucks and luncheons as an ongoing way of showing recognition.
Print an impact report showing how many hours the volunteer donated and the specific impact that their time had on the organization – laminate or frame it, then give it to them as a special keepsake.
Record a video message of your executive director commending volunteers and share it on social media, your website and/or in your email newsletter – be sure to include specific names in the messaging and special recognition for long-term volunteers.
Reach out to the community that your organization serves and ask them to write thank you notes or make cards to hand out to the volunteers making a difference.
Get t-shirts or other swag printed with the organization’s logo and/or ‘Volunteer’ on them and hand them out – you could even personalize them by getting each volunteer’s name printed on them. Include a note that says ““We know you’d give the shirt off your back, so here’s an extra for the next time you give your all!”
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