Gratitude goes a long way. It strengthens your relationships and inspires positivity. Just as we have stressed the importance of thanking your donors and your peer-to-peer event participants, it is important to thank your volunteers. With National Volunteer Week upon us (April 12-18 2015), it’s the perfect time to emphasize how essential volunteers are to your organization and to commend them for the important work they do.

These 5 tips will help your organization craft a ‘thank you’ that will encourage involvement from your volunteers for years to come.

  1. Survey their Experience. It is important to receive feedback on the volunteer experience in order to identify what is working and what is not. You can then effectively change any problems that may arise. By having a voice in the organization your volunteers will feel more connected to your organization and to the overall cause.
  2. Recognize Milestones. The longevity of volunteers’ support boosts your organization by having a base of people that you can rely on. Let them know how essential their work is to the organization by highlighting what the organization has achieved during your time together. Applaud your volunteers’ milestones with a personalized email, social media post or phone call.
  3. Timeliness & Personalization. Thank your volunteers during the event or activity and keep it personal by saying their name or speaking about the task they are working on. You should follow up soon after the event to thank them as well. Don’t wait too long or else your ‘thank you’ may no longer seem relevant.
  4. Gamification for Volunteers. You can gear your ‘thank you’ to a gaming state of mind by awarding points for participation and completion of activities. Volunteers can be awarded points for attending events, referring new volunteers or achieving a goal for an activity they are participating in. This earning environment motivates your volunteers in a fun way by giving them something to strive for.
  5. Celebrate National Volunteer Week! Announce your gratitude on social media pages with updates like “Thank you to all our great #volunteers! Happy #NationalVolunteerWeek! <3” where your volunteers can see it and share the love. Adding pictures of actual volunteers can make these posts pop even more. You can also send an email to your list of volunteers with a similar ‘thank you’ message.

While considering the best way to thank your volunteers, remember that they are just as invested in the cause you are all fighting for. They would rather have any money raised go towards the cause than to themselves. With this in mind, a gala in your volunteers honor may not be the most suitable option for someone’s 3 year anniversary with your organization. A personalized phone call will likely resonate with your volunteer just as much.

Charity Dynamics would like to say a huge thank you to the nonprofits and their volunteers for helping to make our community and our world a better one to live in. Happy National Volunteer Week!!

Thank You!