National Volunteer Week, brought to you by Points of Light, is an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time, talent, voice and support to causes they care about in their community. Their stories can serve to inspire others to find ways to take action that creates change.
Service Unites, the theme for National Volunteer Week, captures the power of change makers to come together to build stronger, more vibrant communities through service.
Celebrate National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. Plan or attend an event to celebrate the impact of change makers in your community, and inspire others to serve.
Tips for Recognizing Volunteers brought to you by Accreditation Guru
While many nonprofits would like to show appreciation to their volunteers by hosting annual dinners or giving beautiful gifts, many do not have the available resources to do so. Therefore, in honor of National Volunteer Week, consider these low or no-cost ways to recognizing your volunteers that will show sincere gratitude to those volunteers who help your organization fulfill its mission:
- Post photos of your volunteers (or photos taken by the volunteers themselves!) in action serving others
- Hold a photo or video contest among volunteers that will help build a sense of camaraderie and fun!
- Feature volunteer stories or “shout outs” on your blog, website, Facebook, newsletter or other external communication to your community
- Honor volunteers with a variety of awards that will highlight their dedication to your cause, such as:
- Volunteer of the Year
- Most Inspirational Volunteer
- Most Enthusiastic Volunteer
- Most Perseverance as a Volunteer
- Provide volunteers with small tokens of gratitude or gift cards; these can be acquired by asking local vendors for small donations – most companies are happy to contribute when asked!
- Redeem corporate credit card reward points for gift cards, travel vouchers, gift certificates for local restaurants, etc. to give to volunteers
- Provide food and/or beverages for volunteers, when appropriate, during events; a boxed lunch or ice cream on a summer day or hot chocolate or a cup of soup during the winter would be quite appreciated!
- Agency-wide email signatures – Have every person in your organization include a line in his or her email signature to show appreciation like, “[Nonprofit name] could not fulfill our mission without the help and support of our terrific volunteers. Thank you!”
- Have a “Superstar Wall” or “Wall of Fame” in your office where pictures and names of your volunteers are posted for everyone to see; include a banner that reads “We couldn’t do it without our Superstar Volunteers!”
- Send volunteers birthday or anniversary greeting or postcards
- Send simple, handwritten thank you notes to volunteers
- Mail a signed letter from your Executive Director or Board Chair to volunteers
- Celebrate milestones in volunteers’ hours of service. It doesn’t need to be only major milestones, encourage new volunteers by recognizing small milestones, too. Something as simple as a thank you card for the first 5 hours of service makes for a nice recognition of their efforts!
- Place an ad in the local newspaper or online or even post to your own website, listing volunteers and thanking them for their service for the year
- Recognize volunteers at your annual meeting or gala with a formal thank you at the podium, mention and picture in the program, complementary attendance at a gala event, etc.
Do you have some favorite ideas for recognizing your volunteers? If so, please share them here!