5 Ways to Show Your Volunteers Appreciation Before the End of the Year

December is a time when a lot of nonprofits are winding down for the year. The annual fundraiser is behind them. Staff is wrapping up loose ends.  Everyone is ready for a much needed holiday break.

Wait!

Before you leave for that holiday vacation, don’t forget to do one important thing… take the time to recognize your hard working volunteers and supporters by showing them your appreciation!

In the for-profit world, companies often give their employees monetary bonuses, take their staff to lunch, or host an annual office holiday party.  Companies know that these celebrations and bonuses make their staff feel happy and appreciated.

Nonprofits are often focused on keeping every penny to put toward their mission or they’re balancing a small budget. The idea of spending a large amount of money on a party or celebration can seem irresponsible with donor dollars. That’s why so many nonprofits end up doing nothing. Instead of doing nothing, how about doing a little something to show your hardworking volunteers a little appreciation this year?

We’ve come up with 5 ways nonprofits can show their gratitude to their dedicated volunteers without breaking the bank (some ideas are even free!):

(1) Host a Dinner Party:  If you have some budget to work with, you can perhaps host a dinner for your volunteers and board members – a rare opportunity to personally thank them for an awesome year!  Go out to a fun restaurant or even host them in your house for an intimate celebration.

(2) Give a Gift:  Another way to show your volunteers appreciation is through a token or gift. Things like a bottle of wine, a beautiful candle or even a tote bag with the organization’s branding on it can go a long way to demonstrate to your volunteers how much their time and efforts meant to you.

(3) Handwrite a Thank You Note:  If you’re out of time and don’t quite have the resources to pull together a holiday gathering, take some time to handwrite each of your volunteers a thank you note. Be specific in your note about that person’s contribution to the team and how much of an impact they made on the organization and its mission recipients.

(4) Give them Social Props:  Quantify how much manpower your volunteers spent to help you power the organization. One idea is to put together an infographic that details how many volunteers are part of the organization, how many hours your volunteers donated to your organization, how much the organization raised thanks to that manpower, and how many families or schools, etc. that money supported. You can share this infographic on social media and tag all of your volunteers. Giving your volunteers public recognition will make them feel good about helping you, and they’ll want to help you time and time again. Remember, in the for-profit world, employees work for money; in nonprofit world, people volunteer to feel like they’ve made a difference.

(5) Recommend Them:  Another great way to show your appreciation is to take the time to write each of them a letter of recommendation on LinkedIn. Just like recognizing them on social media will allow their friends to see what a giving, swell friend they have, recognizing them on LinkedIn will ensure their professional contacts know so too.

As the old saying goes, “A little appreciation goes a long way.”  Take some time to show a little gratitude this December. Doing so will solidify a volunteer’s bond to your organization, help keep the act of giving and volunteerism alive and well in the coming year, and will make everyone feel special about being associated with such an awesome organization!

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