If you ask anyone with substantial experience in the nonprofit sector, they will be sure to tell you that volunteers are the lifeblood of running an organization. Volunteers make it possible for nonprofits to accomplish their long-term missions and also increase their reach to a wider audience.
Convincing people to give up their limited amount of free time can be difficult. If you do want your volunteers to consistently be doing good work for your organization—and subsequently recruit their friends to do the same—then it is important to consistently be searching for new ways to make them feel valued. Fortunately, by keeping these simple ideas in mind, you can show your appreciation and continue moving towards success.
Create awards for your volunteers
One of the best ways to make your volunteers feel appreciated is to create awards recognizing the work that they’ve done. Rewards such as “Volunteer of the Year”, “Most Hours Volunteered”, “Community Difference Maker”, and others of a similar vein can help give your volunteers something tangible to remember their experience with.
Giving your volunteers rewards will make it easier for you to maintain an ongoing, productive relationship with them.
Provide your volunteers with tickets to an event
As a nonprofit organization, paying your volunteers would obviously defeat the purpose of volunteering. However, providing them with perks such as tickets to events can help them feel wanted without costing your organization too much money. Tickets to sporting events, concerts, the theatre, museums, and other popular attractions will motivate people to volunteer and even bring their friends along. Many of these venues will give away a select amount of tickets for free in order to get positive press and also help a worthwhile cause.
Publish objective information about your successes
In order for your volunteers to feel valued, it is important to tangibly show that what they are doing actually makes a difference. Publishing statistics that are objectively measurable, clear, and easy to understand can help reinforce the fact that what your organization has been doing has had a positive impact on your community. For example, publishing something such as the number of meals your organization has served per the number of volunteer hours can be quite valuable.
When promoting your nonprofit organization it is important #shownottell the impact you have had.
Give your volunteers a tangible keepsake
One of the best ways to convince individuals to keep volunteering is to give them something that reminds them that your organization is still around and still trying to make a difference in the community. Giving them something such as a t-shirt, key chain, or even a frisbee is an affordable way for people to always be keeping you in mind. Additionally, this will help spread awareness of your brand—not only will your volunteers feel appreciated, but more people will actually know about the work you do.
Send your volunteers a handwritten thank you note
Sometimes, in order for your volunteers to feel appreciated, it is a good idea to give them something with an actual, personal touch. A handwritten thank you note can make an incredible difference in their day. Not only does it show them that the work they do is appreciated, but it also shows that you are willing to go out of your way in order to make things more personal and less generic.
When something can be personalized, your volunteers will feel more valued.
Overall, when brainstorming ways to make your volunteers feel valued, there are a few important things you should keep in mind. Finding the ideal token of appreciation involves a careful balance of tangible value and keeping things affordable. If you are willing to be creative and go the extra mile, your efforts will surely pay off.