As an association professional, you understand the importance of volunteers. They’re the ones that help your association function. They help out with events, administrative tasks, strategy on occasion - the list goes on and on.
Simply put, they do a lot - and they deserve to be thanked! The question is, how do you thank your volunteers, particularly when you’re working with a small budget? We’ve got a few ideas!
- Surprise them with a phone call (just to check in and say thanks!)
- Send them a simple, hand-written thank you card
- Feature them on your association’s website or blog
- Feature them in your organization’s newsletter (online or in print)
- Present them with an award, such as “Volunteer of the Year”
- Surprise them with food (Who doesn’t love a free meal?!)
- Offer VIP parking at your next meeting or event
- Give them a shout-out on social media
- Give them a shout-out at your next meeting or event
- Host an event exclusively for your volunteers (even if it’s just a small dinner or get-together)
- Provide them with free swag (a mug or a t-shirt)
- Present them with a certificate of appreciation
- Surprise them with a sweet treat (a candy bar and a thank you note)
- Take pictures of them on the job, frame those pictures, and present them to your volunteers as gifts
- Offer front-row seating at your next meeting or event
- If your keynote speaker has a book, consider gifting it to your volunteers (especially if they helped out at the event)
- Create a volunteer recognition board (and update it frequently)
- Surprise them with a small gift, such as a Starbucks gift card
- Consider providing them with discounts (on events, membership, etc.)
- Send them an eCard (if you’re really pressed for time)
- Endorse them on LinkedIn
- Consider naming something in their honor
- Surprise them with baked-goods - that you actually made
- Provide them with something limited-edition (a decal or a t-shirt exclusively for volunteers)
- (A combination of #9 and #24) Gift them with that limited-edition swag at one of your meetings or events (That might actually inspire others to help out/volunteer!)
One pro-tip here: When your volunteers first start, consider having them fill out a short form with questions like “What is your favorite candy?” and “Favorite drink from Starbucks?” That way, it makes it easier for you to surprise them (with things they actually like) later on down the road.
Want more tips for not only appreciating your volunteers, but recruiting, onboarding, and retaining them as well? Check out our Small-Staff Guide to Volunteer Management below!