Simple Volunteer Appreciation Help

Global Volunteer Month begins April 1st every year, and if you are new to volunteer engagement, or find yourself with a backlog, simple volunteer appreciation help is top priority. Appreciation is an important tool in a Volunteer Engagement Professional’s (VEP) retention toolbox. A simple act of appreciation can be the most memorable.

The thank you note

Customized, handwritten notes from a direct supervisor have the highest appreciation value. After reviewing your unduplicated 13 month volunteer roster, decide if you have the capacity to make this happen. If your roster is larger than 25 notes per employee supervisor, consider one of the following quick options:

  • Take a photo of the staff holding thank you signs, “we love volunteers” or something personal to your organization. Upload the image and use any of the photo postcard designs on the “Mail for Me.” If you use a Retail Me Not discount there is a good chance for a 60% off this time of year.
  • Handwritten notes to use at an employee signing “party.” This is an excellent use of court ordered community service hours. Even if your organization does not broadly accept court ordered service, juvenile and probationary students with non-violent offenses are excellent for this task. You get a handwritten note of appreciation for employee supervisors to sign at staff meeting.
  • Do not forget the email. If you have not used mail merge in email, now is your time to shine. You can customize your messages by job code and even send group emails to teams. The message is far more important than graphics or anything else.

Use your entire supervisory team

Volunteer appreciation does not mean we do not ask volunteers to help us. It means we need better gifts for the volunteers that help us. In fact, volunteer supervisors take great pride in supervising other volunteers. It is alright to let them know as supervisors they will be treated to a special appreciation gift or event due to their extra help.

Employee involvement in volunteer appreciation does not always go the way we hope.  Employee buy-in critically impacts volunteer morale, but it also has an impact on employee morale. Incorporating appreciation of employees into your supervisor appreciation efforts will go a long way to ease this unintended tension.

Decorations Not to be Overlooked

Do not underestimate a well decorated office. Festive decorations greeting your in office volunteers will put a smile on their faces. Bonus benefit is that all your guests will see how much you love your volunteers. If you need ideas for decoration ideas on the cheap, this is a golden opportunity to head to a second hand store. PTAs and peer agencies will often trade decorations sets they have used for sets themes they have not used recently. Nobody wants a sock hop, 1980, luau, or a masquerade party every year. If you are still looking for simple inspiration, try the Baby Shower Boards on Pinterest.

Volunteer Spotlights

Newsletters, framed stories placed around the office, shout outs, and volunteers of the day are a great way to spotlight the stories of impact the volunteers have on the organization. During Global Volunteer Month, try more than a few.  Work with the fund development department to highlight donor volunteers. Work with client services to highlight any clients turned volunteers. If time is short and you need help writing your appreciation stories, do not be afraid to use a bit of template. It might feel a bit like a mad lib at first, but it is a great way to start.

Volunteer works for _______ department _______ serves ___________. Includes three sentences about the impact of the department (use the annual report). Volunteer is important to this work because_____________. They give this much time ______________ to our cause. Include one full paragraph about the work of the organization and the volunteers integration into the organization. End with a personal story if you have one, or let their supervisor edit your story.

Set Volunteer Appreciation Goals during April

Samples are provided as a member benefit.


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