Communicating With and Thanking Your Volunteers
Volunteers are often lynchpins in a charitable or non-profit company as they offer their support by giving time to your cause in exchange for simply being a part of your crew. They’ll also talk about you on social media and speak to friends, family and colleagues about the experience they have whilst helping out. Therefore it’s vital to keep their passion alive and dedicated to assisting you by regularly communicating with and thanking your volunteers.
There are many ways in which you can communicate your gratitude to your helpers. First and foremost is saying thank you in person, with genuine heartfelt praise. You may have volunteers who go above and beyond your expectations for example. Being generous with words to these people can often have a profound affect, strengthening ties and building bonds between parties.
Dedicating time to your volunteers in person this way, or by taking time to host events which praise the work and commitment of volunteers, is a fun reward for both you and them. And it shows your appreciation and that you’re invested in their wellbeing. A party with plenty of food (who doesn’t like pizza!) to say thanks for all their hard work also goes down a treat.
But in fact actual treats work too! Personalised snacks and small gifts such as low cost water bottles, t-shirts or pens show imagination and thoughtfulness – and your volunteers will appreciate the gesture. Equally rewarding volunteers with coffee or cake on their birthday is a special touch.
Continue the theme of community and regularly saying thanks by sharing the outcomes of your supporter’s work via email newsletter. Any inspirational stories or case studies of how a particular volunteer or group have helped out will engage readers and keep everyone in the loop. Not to mention provide background information on volunteering within your company. Adding in volunteer profiles to these newsletters showcases the hard work each person contributes.
For those looking for a more personalised way to thank their volunteers, greetings cards and letters which are chosen especially for the individual in question are a nice touch and make a rare change from the digital alternative. Postcards and personalised notebooks also make excellent appreciation gifts.
Finally, awards and certificates for teams and individuals which also show recognition of hard work and dedication, make volunteers feel valued. You could even tie these in with the previously mentioned volunteer events and turn it into a team building exercise. Nominations and voting could take place on categories such as ‘Most Likely to go the Extra Mile’ or ‘Volunteer of the Month’, and awards given would provide a meaningful touch to all those involved.
These are just some ways to show your volunteers that you are appreciative of their involvement with your cause. Not only are they fun to do but also range from the fairly cost effective (such as simply saying thank you in person or the gift of a pen) to a full blown party, so it’s easily achievable for everyone, even those on tiny budgets.