Volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit. They allow you to maintain operations and achieve your mission. Showing appreciation is very important. Even a small move goes a long way.
Why should you show appreciation to your volunteers? It’s sometimes too easy to take them for granted. But remember, they are taking time out of their day to help your organization. Often they have to pay for travel expenses.
There are several benefits to showing appreciation. It will boost retention. You won’t have to be constantly having to find recruits. It’ll create trust. You’ll be able to train your volunteers in more complex tasks. Lastly, it will strengthen your relationship. Some volunteers end up as large donors in the future. Seeds must be planted first before they become trees.
Showing appreciation doesn’t have to be very complex or costly. Verbal acknowledgment is just a few words and only takes a moment. But after hard work, it can be very meaningful.
A formal thank you after a job well done can be a smart idea. Some nonprofit leaders like to do a hand-written note as well.
Some nonprofits have a volunteer appreciation event. These do not have to cost a lot of money but people enjoy the special recognition. Sometimes these have an awards ceremony.
Some volunteers would like a leadership position. The added responsibility is nice, plus they can put it on their resume. Some like the power. This doesn’t cost you anything and if you choose right it can lead to a better-managed organization.
Training volunteers on new tasks in a way that shows appreciation. You’re showing that they’re worth investing in. If a volunteer has proven themselves to be reliable and a good worker, spend some time training them.
If you can afford it, offer free food. It does not need to be pricey. Often a few sandwiches will suffice. Try to have vegan or vegetarian options.
Of course, gratitude starts with the leader. Get in the practice of saying thank you. Build camaraderie between your managers, volunteers, and employees.
Every so often, take a survey of your volunteers. This way you can pinpoint your strengths and what you need to improve. You can either do this with a handout or via email. There are many free tools available online.
Lastly, do an exit interview for every volunteer that is leaving. They’ll be more willing to speak up as they’re leaving the organization.
Volunteers are an important part of every nonprofit. It’s important to show them appreciation.