Hit the pause button this week. It is National Volunteer Week and a little gratitude could fuel your mission for months to come. If you work for a nonprofit or serve in a volunteer leadership role, I urge you to take time to appreciate your key volunteers. People respond to gratitude. It’s been proven time and time again.
Genuine, heartfelt praise can propel your recruitment, fundraising and outreach efforts. I know, you’re thinking, “We don’t have a gratitude budget!” Good news – you don’t need one! All you need to make it happen is a little time and creativity. Last I checked, kind words directed at an office volunteer cost nothing. Expressing how much you appreciate a board member’s unwavering commitment is free. Heck – sending a letter to the boss of your Walk Chair to thank them for allowing their employee to serve with your organization is priceless.
I’ve noticed simple gratitude gives people a little pep in their step and produces more of what you want. That volunteer you recognized for reaching her fundraising goal is likely to send out another e-blast, resulting in additional income. That board member you asked out for coffee to share how much you appreciate them is likely to share the experience and work harder to bring on that next corporate sponsor. That youth baseball coach you texted to say, “Thanks for what you do,” is likely to commit next time you come calling for coaches.
If you’ve got a challenging volunteer, pour on the love. It’s have to be bitter or disgruntled when someone thanks you for the work you do. Remember the appreciation needs to be genuine and specific. Find something you appreciate about that person and let them know. It could be the catalyst for an attitude change!
Volunteers don’t get paid (that’s why they are volunteers!). Their compensation is the ability to make a difference and feel good about what they can contribute. Words of praise are to a volunteer what a bonus is to a sales associate. An attitude of gratitude will come back to you and the organization in ways you can’t even imagine. So hit the pause button on the many demands of your day and get to it. It might just be the most rewarding thing you’ll do this week.