Simple Ways to Show Volunteer Appreciation

by BuckHawk

Simple, inexpensive yet powerful ways to show volunteers how much they are appreciated. Volunteer recognition and appreciation is so vital.

Like me, you need to find ways to appreciate all the time and effort your volunteers give to your group or organization. We certainly don't want to break the bank, but we want to do more than just say thanks. Of course, we always say “thanks for being here today” or “thank you for your help” but what else can we do.

That is exactly what this article is about. Finding those simple, inexpensive ways to do more to appreciate our volunteers. Simple, yes, but powerful and unexpected. It's often those little expressions of recognition that make such a difference for our volunteers.

From the Voice of Experience

That you find from Volunteering

I currently manage the BuckHawk Center Animal Rescue, which is entirely made up of volunteers, including me. So I work with many volunteers in many different capacities. But, that's only part of it. For most of my adult life, I have been managing volunteers in some group or another. My experience has encompassed many different types of organizations that use volunteers to handle so many tasks. Without those volunteers, very few groups could continue.


In other words, I have been finding and testing out ways to show volunteer appreciation for years. That's why this particular topic is one that is near and dear to my heart. Which is also why I am writing this article. Maybe you can find the right ideas for appreciating your volunteers. Be sure to visit Appreciate Volunteers for more tips and ideas.

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Little Personalized Gifts to Show Appreciation to Volunteers

Simple and inexpensive

When we are talking simple things, any excuse works to show volunteer appreciation. One of my favorite and simple things to do is to customize a little pin or refrigerator magnet just for each volunteer. Especially when a new person joins us to volunteer, I like to get that little goodie ordered as soon as possible.


I use Zazzle for these little goodies, because I can order one at a time and I can easily personalize each one. Typically, I pick a design to match what I know about the person. With our Animal Rescue volunteers, I usually know about their own pets before they even start with us, so I use a design that features one of their pets and add text over it that says: Janie is a treasured volunteer at BuckHawk Center. It's simple, inexpensive and so appreciated by they volunteers. Every one seems to delight when they get theirs.


You can find lots more ideas for inexpensive and personalized appreciation gifts right here. But don't stop there. Read on to find more fun ideas and more options for small gifts.

Bring Treats to Work

Volunteers always love goodies

Another fun and quite inexpensive way to show appreciation to your volunteers is to bring treats to work. I enjoy baking, so I always pick some fun new recipe that I can do extra to bring to work for my volunteers. Of course, I have to have enough for my family to enjoy. Simple things like cookies, cheese bisquits, even donuts are all very much appreciated.


Set them in the office with a note that says: Thanks for all you do. You will be pleased to see how happy your volunteers are.


If you're not a baker, don't panic. Store-bought goodies can be inexpensive and can be set on a pretty plate to achieve the same effect. What you want to do is show appreciation, however you can.

Make Volunteer Time Fun

Use your sense of humor to show appreciation

A sense of humor is such a big part of my volunteer life, so I like to share that and carry humor over to the time my volunteers spend working with me. I am always on the look out for humorous cartoons to share with those hard-working volunteers. But, I don't stop there. I look for those wacky holidays to do something extra.


Like April 9 is Name Yourself Day. I bring in those “My Name Is” stickers – very inexpensive – and let everybody pick a new name for themselves. I always lead off with my own name. You guessed it. I pick something wild and wacky. One year I was Imelda Marcos Wannabe. That got some huge laughs and resulted in some truly wacky names.


The fun continues as you try to use the new names for each volunteer instead of their real names. My volunteers are still talking, and laughing about last year's Name Yourself Day celebration at BuckHawk Center. We may have hard work to do here, but we can certainly have some laughs to go along with it.


And Finally Volunteer Recognition Day

It's April 20th

There is only one day, so far, that is truly set aside to celebrate volunteers. That occurs on April 20 of each year. Volunteer Recognition Day should be that one day that goes one your calendar with stars around it and highlights all over the place. Don't let this great excuse to appreciate your volunteers go by this year. Celebrate the wonderful things that your volunteers do. Certainly they make your work load easier and for some they make the group or organization happen.


We are sharing more tips and more useful advice on appreciating and recognizing your volunteers at Appreciate Volunteers. Come over and join us. Add your comments, ask questions, get help if you need it. Visit often as we continue to share ideas, plans and talk about appreciating volunteers.

Updated: 03/02/2012, BuckHawk
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ohcaroline on 03/03/2012

Taking a simple moment to recognize them individually lets them know that you noticed them and their work.

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