32 Ways to Recognize Volunteers

Working in a non-profit organization one appreciates and recognizes the important role volunteers play in the successful delivery of our programs and services. We could not be as effective as we are without the support of volunteers.

Recognizing, thanking and motivating volunteers is a vital part of a good volunteer program. Here is a list of ideas—both big and small—to thank and recognize their contributions.

  1. Smile at them. Acknowledge their presence on site.
  2. Treat them to a coffee or meal.
  3. Reimburse any of the out-of-pocket expenses.
  4. Send a birthday, holiday and thank-you cards to volunteers and their families.
  5. Give service pins or certificates.
  6. Plan an annual recognition program.
  7. Provide good pre-service orientation and training.
  8. Hold volunteer meetings and ask for input.
  9. Enable them to grow on the job.
  10. Create a pleasant work environment.
  11. Enlist experienced volunteers to train new volunteers.
  12. Take time to talk and listen.
  13. Have a plan: job descriptions and task lists for volunteers.
  14. Carefully match volunteer with job
  15. Provide scholarships to volunteer conferences or workshops
  16. Utilize volunteers on advisory committees.
  17. Celebrate National Volunteer Week.
  18. Nominate them for volunteer awards.
  19. Praise them to their friends and peers
  20. Provide in-service training
  21. Plan staff and volunteer social events
  22. Promote a “Volunteer-of-the-month” program
  23. Send letter of appreciation to their employer
  24. Plan a “Recognition Edition” the organisation’s newsletter.
  25. Send commendatory letters to prominent public figures
  26. Say, “we missed you.” when they are away.
  27. Award special citations for extraordinary achievements
  28. Plan a theatre party
  29. Have a picnic
  30. Have employees adopt a volunteer as a “secret friend”.
  31. Have a volunteer planning retreat.
  32. Create a volunteer bulletin board with announcements, pictures, and recognition.
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