National Volunteer Week is a great time to step up your volunteer appreciation game.
Here are four effective ways to say thank you to your volunteers.
It’s important to give thanks to your volunteers throughout the year – it helps increase volunteer and member retention and improves your overall volunteer program. But as we approach National Volunteer Week (April 17 – April 23 this year), it’s a great opportunity to really do it up big. Think of it as a “thank-a-thon” in which you focus on celebrating volunteers and the impact they have on your association.
So, are you ready to step up your “thank you” game? Here are four effective approaches:
1. Send a thank you email (or a handwritten note).
Sending a thank you email or a handwritten note sounds simple. And that’s because it is!
But instead of sending a generic “thanks” to all of your volunteers, personalize it. Really recognize the value of each volunteer’s contribution by being specific about the role and/or impact that the volunteer made. Here’s an example:
Thank you for volunteering your time to write an article for our latest member newsletter. Our members loved it! In fact, it received the highest number of clicks in the newsletter, and was one of the most viewed articles this year. The tips and insights you provided will surely help your peers take their careers to the next level.
I truly thank you for all you do to help [Organization’s name] achieve our mission.
[Your Executive Director or CEO’s signature]
2. Pick up the phone.
How often do people take the time to pick up the phone and say “thank you” these days? It’s a small gesture, but it can go a long way toward letting your volunteers know you truly appreciate their time.
3. Give shout outs.
Publicly thank your volunteers through your member newsletter and via social media. You might call out specific volunteers who have done exceptional work, and also thank your full pool of volunteers by listing how many hours they’ve donated and what they’ve helped your organization accomplish.
These accolades not only recognize your current volunteers, but also can encourage others to join in.
4. Ask for feedback.
It’s a good practice to ask your volunteers for feedback throughout the year. But also consider sending a short survey during National Volunteer Week to reinforce the idea that you appreciate your volunteers’ work for your organization and are listening to them so you can make their experience even better. Keep in mind that this is not a time to ask if they want to do more – it’s an opportunity to show appreciation for them by giving them an opportunity to give you feedback.
A few questions to ask
- What is the organization doing well?
Prompt volunteers to think about their entire volunteer experience – from sign-up and orientation to training and support – and ask what aspects were the most helpful and enjoyable.
- What are the most challenging/most rewarding aspects of volunteering?
Make sure they understand that by providing this type of candid feedback, they are helping your organization improve future volunteer opportunities.
- What type(s) of volunteer opportunities would they like to do, but have never been asked?
Ask volunteers if there are any types of volunteer opportunities that would interest them that they haven’t yet been invited to do yet.
Some of these approaches might seem tough to fit into your schedule for National Volunteer Week – especially if you have a large number of volunteer members. But there are a few things you can do to make it easier. For example:
- Spread out the emails, notes, and/or phone calls throughout the week in between meetings and daily tasks.
- Ask multiple people in your organization, including board members, to help out. (And, don’t forget to thank your board members, too!)
- If needed, segment your volunteer list by the number of hours they’ve contributed or the impact they’ve made over the past year, and devote more “thank you” time to those who have donated more.
You can thank your volunteers in front of the professional world with us. Click here to go to our LinkedIn post where your association leadership peers are sharing their thanks to volunteers.