We all know that people are the most valuable asset for any nonprofit organization, and that includes volunteers. When was the last time you told your volunteers how much you appreciate them? You probably do it all the time (right???), but in honor of Valentine's Day, here are some ideas to show them your love.
- Start a Volunteer of the Month program. Post their photo on your bulletin board or in a special frame, and feature them in your newsletter or on your web site. Maybe even have a special parking space designated for this person!
- Write a note to the volunteer's spouse and/or children saying how much you appreciate the time their loved one spends helping your organization.
- Spotlight a volunteer at your next fundraising event. This shows not only the volunteers that you value them, but it shows your supporters the wonderful people working "behind the scenes."
- Have a "family day" event. Invite volunteers to bring family members to see what they really do for your organization. Have a special project everyone can work on -- planting a garden, painting a mural, putting together care packages -- then thank everyone with pizza or a cookout.
- Track the dollar value of your volunteers' service and present them with a fake "check" at the end of the year or during a special event.
- Ask local businesses to donate something for your volunteers -- movie tickets, gift cards, a free cake for the breakroom. It doesn't have to be worth a lot of money to be worthwhile.
- Hold a special recognition event for your youth or senior volunteers. Cater the music, food and activities to their tastes -- hip hop, hot dogs and video games for the kids, or appetizers, swing music and a dance floor for the seniors.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started. More ideas for volunteer recognition are available from Energize, Inc., submitted by their readers.
But you know your volunteers best -- what would they like to get in return for all that they give to your organization? Be creative and think about how to personally thank them in ways they will find meaningful. If you don't know what they would like, why not ask them? Set up a suggestion box and let them tell you how to say thanks.
To learn more about working effectively with volunteers, attend our free program on March 17, Using Volunteers in Your Organization; Pros, Cons, and Management Tips. Curtis Cannon of Greater DC Cares will answer your questions and give you tips on using volunteers to support and execute your organization’s mission and goals.