Good volunteers give so much to associations, especially when they’re leading committees, spearheading projects or rallying the troops around a cause. Whether they do it because they support your mission, believe in your cause, were “voluntold” or are a glutton for punishment (just kidding about that last one, kind of), letting them know they’re appreciated and valued goes a long way. So, in that spirit, here’s a list of some ways to say, “Thank you.” You’re welcome. For the list.
Send a Note
Thinking something digital for volunteer appreciation? Great. Check out Paperless Post for great cards you can send online (and paper, too). Or, for those fun-loving volunteers, send them a Jib-Jab thank you because there’s nothing that says thank you like a dancing cartoon character with their face on it, right? But don’t forget the value of a good, old fashioned hand written note. They’re rare like dinosaurs and appreciated almost as much, too.
Give a Major Award
Though this would be awesome, perhaps making them the association's Volunteer of the Month makes more sense. Highlight them on your blog or website and explain all the great things they’ve done to help the association move forward. You can even integrate a quick form that allows other volunteers and members to send them notes of thanks or appreciation right from your site.
Help Them Get Better
Everyone has room for improvement, so if your volunteer has shown a passion or skill for a certain project or task, consider rewarding them by helping them hone their skills. For example, if a volunteer led a communication task force that knocked it out of the park, budget some time and money to offer them a training course that shows you believe enough to invest in them. They might get even more excited about their task and you’ll get their new skills to put right back into the association.
Get Out the Red Carpet
If your volunteers have gone above and beyond, it’s time to treat them like the VIPs they are. Create special check-in options for them at your conference where their registration materials are taken straight to their hotel room. Host a reception exclusively for volunteers where their only obligation is to come and enjoy themselves. If you host local events, give them upfront parking. Bottom line, whenever you can make them feel special, you should.
Extend the Thank You
Don’t forget about the people who help them be the best volunteers they can be. Consider sending a note of thanks and appreciation to their boss for all the time they spend out of the office traveling, or for their support, financially or otherwise, of the volunteer’s efforts to your association. Send tickets to a game or movie to your volunteer’s family, or even a simple note. It’s important to recognize those who don’t directly volunteer, but support someone who does, since they’re often making sacrifices, too.
The Most Important Thing Ever
Say it. Any time you have the opportunity, thank them, out loud, for their commitment to the organization. It’s really that simple.