NVW - How Do You Thank Your Volunteers?

16 June 2021 | News

NVW - How Do You Thank Your Volunteers?

We encourage managers / coordinators / leaders of volunteers to make sure you are recognising and rewarding the volunteers within your organisation throughout the year, but National Volunteer Week is a prime time to do some serious recognition of those valuable people.

Here's a bit of a fact check for you...

80% - When surveyed, the majority of volunteers said they would like to know the impact of the work that they're doing for their organisations...even though only 50% of volunteer managers actually share that information with their volunteers

70% - So many volunteers love to be thanked in-person! This is great news if you're a volunteer manager...90% of which say they already informally thank volunteers in-person for their efforts.

30% - Less than a third of volunteers who responded to the survey indicated that they want to be thanked through a formal letter. It's a nice thought and more than 70% of volunteer managers are providing letters of recognition, but what do the volunteers really want?!

20% - A very small number of volunteers said that their preferred method of recognition is through a formal event...but more than half of the volunteer managers that were surveyed said this is how they like to recognise volunteers.

Meaningful Recognition: Informal vs Formal

Informal: Write personalised thank you cards to your volunteers, focusing on the impact of their work.


Formal: Nominate an amazing volunteer for a formal award, which speaks to the difference they have made through their work.

Other ideas:

Focus on Impact:
Keep volunteers up-to-date with programme and organisation milestones and accomplishments.
Create "impact cards" or gifts which highlight the difference that volunteer contributions have made to your organisations

Consider Volunteer Motivations:
Get volunteer feedback about recognition ideas and get them involved in the planning of recognition events.
Make volunteers an integral part of the programme evaluation and development process for programmes they are involved in.

Make Recognition Personal:
Train staff and volunteer supervisors to recognise volunteer contributions in-person and at the right time.
Invite volunteers into your professional network and keep them informed of relevant professional opportunities.

Create a Culture of Recognition:
Invite volunteers to staff events such as meetings and parties so that they feel connected to the entire organisation.
Recognise great volunteer work on social media, in newsletters, and internal memos.