18 Simple Volunteer Appreciation Tips

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One of the most crucial - and yet easiest - ways to increase the longevity of great volunteers is to show them your appreciation on a regular basis. Showing volunteers that you’re thankful for their servant heart doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture. There are simple, easy ways to show your volunteers appreciation year-round.

Here are 18 ways to show your volunteers some love:

1. Say “thank you” in person.

This is the simplest and often the most overlooked way to show appreciation to your volunteers. Sometimes, a few minutes of your time and kind words given face-to-face are all it takes to give a worn out volunteer new energy.

2. Text your volunteer leaders.

Send a personal text every now and then. It's short and sweet, but it will still show them that you're truly thinking about how thankful you are for their service.

3. Send an email.

This is good for times when you want to say a little more about why you are thankful for your volunteers. You could send a personal email to individual volunteers or a fun mass email to all of them. 

4. Send a handwritten thank you note.

There’s something special about taking the time to write down words of appreciation and affirmation.

5. Send a personalized thank you video.

One of our team members goes to a church and the pastor does this for all their key volunteers! It meant so much to the volunteers. This doesn't have to be time-consuming or professional-quality videos; you could record them yourself on your iphone. This is also a good alternative if you’re not great at expressing your thoughts in writing.

6. Give out sweet treats.

Bringing in special coffee or baked goods is always a great way to make volunteers happy.

7. Provide breakfast before service.

A couple times a year, consider bringing in breakfast for all of your volunteers who have to be there early. Who doesn't like breakfast tacos?

8. Hold an ice cream social.

This is a really fun way to say thank you during the summer. Alternatively, hot chocolate or s’mores could be a great winter themed social.

9. Give small gifts.

Give a small giftcards to Starbucks or a local favorite eatery. Volunteer gifts don't have to be big or expensive to be appreciated.

10. Give a card or keepsake with a Bible verse.

Does your church or different ministries in your church have a particular special Bible verse, or a passage they focus on each year or month? Give them a thoughtful way to continue to focus on it.

11. Have T-shirts made.

If you don’t already have cool t-shirts for your volunteers and/or ministries, this can be a creative way to thank volunteers and spread awareness of each ministry.

12. Give visual reminders.

Give them a framed photo of themselves serving in ministry. A visual reminder of the difference volunteers make in people’s lives can be powerful.

13. Say public thank yous.

Say thank you in front of the congregation during Sunday service. Public acknowledgement can go a long way in showing appreciation.

14. Choose a volunteer of the week or month.

Recognize a volunteer for his or her outstanding service on a regular basis, be it with a small sign or a framed photo on display.

15. Give out trophies or medals.

Once your volunteers have served for certain amounts of time, give them awards according to their length of time served. Serving any amount of years in one ministry is a major achievement!

16. Create a time-off card.

Volunteers can get burnt out from ceaselessly serving, whether it’s due to a lack of available volunteers or just because they like it so much. This encourages them to take a break and relax every once in a while.

17. Set up a Date Night.

Provide your volunteers with a fun night out, and provide babysitting by way of the youth group. This “thank you” will be especially meaningful to your volunteers with young children.

18. Hold a quarterly lunch or dinner for volunteers.

This is a great way to say thank you and get to know your volunteers better.

These are just a handful of the ways you can show appreciation to those serving in your ministry. Get creative, and whatever you do, show your volunteers consistent gratitude.

What are some ways you like to say “thank you” to your volunteers?

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