Recognizing volunteers helps them feel motivated, reenergized, and appreciated. By showing them your appreciation, they are more likely to want to continue volunteering with your organization. The following five ways nonprofits can show appreciation to volunteers are just a few ideas to help your volunteers feel more valued.
1. Honor volunteers’ commitment
Showing your volunteers you appreciate them doesn’t have to involve a black tie awards banquet (although it certainly can!). There are a number of big and small ways that organizations can show their volunteers they are appreciated. Highlighting a “Volunteer of the Month” on your website or in a newsletter is an excellent way to show appreciation for dedicated volunteers. Likewise, make sure to recognize milestones like how long a volunteer has been with the organization or reaching a certain number of hours spent volunteering. Seeing their commitment honored in print or with a small token of appreciation can go a long way in helping volunteers feel that their time is valued.
2. Share success stories
Volunteers like to see the difference their contributions are making. Share success stories about the ways that their time and contributions impact your organization and changes people’s lives. Likewise, showcase photos taken at recent events or follow up with people the organization has helped in the past.
3. Provide a meal or snacks
Providing snacks or a meal to volunteers can keep them happy, engaged, and motivated. This is especially true for volunteers who are working through a meal time or for long hours. Studies have shown that providing food [http://tobijohnson.typepad.com/tobisblog/2011/11/its-official-providing-food-at-volunteer-events.html] can create positive attitudes, encourage socialization, and inspire feelings of reciprocity. All of these add up to a volunteer force that is more likely to come back time and again.
4. Create bigger roles
Regular volunteers may be able to take on bigger roles within your organization. Many volunteers may have experience in the corporate realm or with other leadership roles; this makes them perfect to serve as advisors, consultants, board members, or team leaders. While some volunteers are happy to just show up and do whatever task is assigned to them, others will appreciate having a larger, more involved role in the organization.
5. Value connections
While some volunteers may come to your organization because they are truly dedicated to the cause, many come because they were invited by friends, family, or coworkers. Honor these connections by placing volunteers who know each other in positions where they can interact or signing them up for the same shift. Most people will be thankful to spend the extra time with friends or family just as you’re thankful for their time!
Happy volunteers can have a big impact on a nonprofit organization. If volunteers feel that they are valued and their time is well spent, they will not only continue to work for your organization, but will invite others to volunteer with them. Because of this, taking the time to honor volunteers can have a big impact on your organization!