Fall is here with beautiful colors in the trees, pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters, and boots! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas will follow shortly after. The holiday season is probably one of the busiest times of the year for everyone. I know this is especially true for nonprofits and churches. As we gear up for the end of the year there is much hustle and bustle around the office, and I start getting extra requests for volunteer help. At Joni and Friends, we rely heavily on our volunteers throughout the year, but especially October through January.
Because we have so many amazing volunteers who generously share their time with us, I am constantly thinking about how we can tell them, “thank you.” There are a variety of ways that I like to thank our volunteers throughout the year, but below are a few of my favorites.
- Pray for them: This is a simple and ongoing way to show your volunteers that you care for them. After I ask them for prayer requests and spend time praying for them, I try to make it a point to follow up with them next time I see them. Following up communicates to them that the details of their lives are important and that they are valued for more than the service they provide.
- Little gifts of appreciation: I love sharing small gifts like a $5 gift card to a coffee shop saying, Thanks a latte for all you do; a small potted plant saying, Thank you for helping us grow; or a box of mints saying, Thanks for your investMINT in our ministry! Google and Pinterest can supply an endless amount of ideas for volunteer appreciation gifts like this.
- Do lunch together: Whether you do lunch with a volunteer one on one, or you plan a large lunch for all your volunteers together, this allows you the opportunity to spend time with your volunteers and simply get to know them. Similar to praying for your volunteers, spending time with them shows them that they are a valuable part of your team.
- Handwritten thank you note: A simple handwritten thank you note can speak volumes, especially when you take time to personalize it. Not only saying thank you, but telling your volunteers why you are thankful for them lets them know that their work is seen and appreciated.
If you are anything like me, the next few months are going to fill up and fly by before I realize it. I hope this blog encourages you to think about how you can show your volunteers how much you appreciate them before the year is over!
Do you have any ideas on how to thank your volunteers? Please share in the comments below!
Ali Howard is a Baylor University graduate who has engaged in full-time, nonprofit work since 2011. She joined the Joni and Friends team in January 2015, and serves as the Senior Coordinator of Volunteer Services. She also acts as the content editor for the Irresistible Church blog and books.