If your organization uses or relies on volunteers, chances are their hard work and dedication goes unthanked most of the time. After all, they’re not at your organization full time, if at all, and you may not often see the results of their time.
This April 18-24 is Volunteer Appreciation Week, and the entire week is dedicated to making sure volunteers receive the appreciation they deserve. I have a few examples and ideas to share with you that I hope will inspire you to reach out to your volunteers this month and express how much you appreciate their efforts.
It’s very popular to host a lunch or event during Volunteer Appreciation Week in honor of your volunteers. An event is an awesome way to celebrate volunteers! You don’t have to put on a 5 course meal either. Consider hosting a potluck and ask volunteers to each bring a dish to share. Plan a couple of ice breaker games so they can get to know each other better and swap volunteering stories
If you plan an event for your volunteers, use a theme to bring all the event details together. I can vividly remember a volunteer appreciation event I attended a few years ago that used the theme “You Make a World of Difference” to honor the volunteers. The entire room was decorated in blue and green, and the world theme made the event flow well. Plus, it still stands out in my mind! Incorporating a theme into your Volunteer Appreciation Week event makes it that must more memorable. Last week, I also shared an example from Illinois where a Volunteer Coordinator at a library used the Essential Piece theme as inspiration for her event.
You can do so much with a creative theme idea and a little inspiration. Do you have a creative Volunteer Appreciation Week theme? Share it here!
It can be extremely difficult to get all your volunteers (or even a majority of them!) together. The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre struggles to accommodate the schedules of all 600 volunteers, so they send a greeting card and a small gift through the mail to everyone during Volunteer Appreciation Week. The volunteers love receiving the surprise in the mail. Last year, volunteers got a Character Pin. I’d tell you what their gift is this year, but it’s a surprise!
Celebrating Volunteer Appreciation Week doesn’t have to be an orchestrated affair. Simply writing thank you notes to each of your volunteers and mailing them to their homes can have a big impact. In the end, your volunteers just need to know that you appreciate the time, effort and work they pour into your organization. Take the time to appreciate them during Volunteer Appreciation Week, and they’ll be loyal volunteers for years to come.
Cori is a Certified Recognition Professional at Baudville and a member of the Gen Y generation. Get her daily employee recognition tips by becoming a fan of Baudville on Facebook.