Volunteer Appreciation Week is the perfect time to pause for a bit and let your volunteers know how much you appreciate them! They will tell you they don’t do it for the recognition. But boy, does it feel good to be appreciated. A little thank you goes a long way towards keeping volunteers happy and engaged.
I speak from experience when I say genuine, timely appreciation is vital to volunteer retention. I recently volunteered to organize volunteers for my son’s 5th grade class – a Science Exhibition / Community Service Day. It’s a volunteer job that comes easy to me (thanks to the tool Sign Up Genius!). I was happy to help.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the outpouring of appreciation I received. The teacher was incredibly grateful and what she had her students do was powerful. They wrote thank you notes. Personal, handwritten thank you notes delivered by the U.S. Postal Services! There was a message from every kid in the class. The one that really got me (pictured here) says, “Thank you so much for helping plan the event on Saturday! An event that is not planned is messy!” Profound. Genuine. To the point. The shower of gratitude made me ready to sign up for the next opportunity. Wisdom from kids is priceless and we can learn so much from it.
As one who teaches nonprofits to appreciate volunteers, I had the opportunity to be on the receiving end of the love. It felt good. Take note of this lesson: It didn’t cost money. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t even perfect. But it was heartfelt and timely. And because of that, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.