Thanking your volunteers is essential to the healthy nurturing of your organisation. If your volunteers do not feel valued, or what they do is not valued, then you’ll quickly see they will also not want to get their valuable free-time to your cause either.
However, a simple ‘Thank you’ here-and-there can make an immense difference, growing loyalty, improving performance, and making a positive difference to each of their lives too. And heading into Christmas is a perfect time to say ‘Thank you’. So let’s look at some simple ideas to do just that:
These are the quickest, and often cheapest options to get a Thank You to everyone. A simple email mailout to all your volunteers, addressed individually, is a great starting point, and effective on it’s own. But you can take it one step further by including a short recorded video verbally thanking the volunteers. You can also then post this video on social media as well, as a public ‘Thank you’ for all to see.
Do you have photos of some of the work that they have done? Including these is a great reminder to them of the effects that their work has had.
Creating a calendar for the coming year, filled with photos from the work that had been done over the last year both has the benefit of being a great surprise, but also like the above example, a great reminder that their work holds meaning. Unlike a digital version of the photos, they will get to see these for the entire year coming!
You can go as big or small as you want. A small box of chocolates, all the way to a big hamper/basket of yummy assortments. The treats will be be eaten fast, but the impression it leaves will remain.
There are a lot of companies out there that can help you produce some branded gifts. This could be anything from pens, coasters, books, clothing, and even some ‘techie’ gadgets.
If your organisation produces a product, or perhaps you are a membership based club of some sort, you could offer some free product, or free membership for a time period. This option may not always be possible, or even appropriate, but in some cases it can be the perfect Thank You.
A Thank You Christmas Tree is perfect if you have a spot where your community can see it. Set up a physical Christmas Tree, a large Christmas Tree Wallprint, or even just a cardboard cutout on the wall. Then decorate it with the names of your volunteers, and some notes and stories about how wonderful they are, and how they are making an input in other people’s lives. Allow your entire community to partake and add their own stories too!
Thinking of doing a Christmas Party? Why not double it as a Volunteer Awards Ceremony as well? Scale the ceremony to match your size - it may be simply a single award of “Volunteer of the Year”, or it could be a full blown ceremony with dozens of prizes and awards. It is great having an event dedicated to celebrate them, and acknowledge the stand out volunteers as well.
This is such a simple idea. Just take the time to say ‘Thank you’ individually to each of your volunteers. It is something that unfortunately is a very commonly forgotten and neglected. Yet this is one of the most impacting options of all. People feel truly valued when someone takes time out their day to personally speak to them, especially if the main point of the conversation is to thank them. And these days with us losing a lot of these sorts of interactions to a digital screen and ‘social’ media, the value of a person connection is worth more than all the gifts in the world.