Properly thanking your volunteers: A how-to

Some nonprofits run on the slimmest of margins, keeping only a small staff employed. With that being said, volunteers can really be the fuel that keeps an organization running ahead while you and your employees pilot the ship. Every nonprofit needs monetary donations coming through its donor management software on a regular basis. However, with the scramble to get the word out about your organization and thank donors for their gifts, you could forget to show the proper amount of gratitude to your regular volunteers.

It's vital to recognize the importance these players contribute to your organization. Therefore, let's take a look at a couple of ways you can effectively show your volunteers how much you value their contributions:

1. Feed them
Want a way to say thank you, raise spirits while on the job and create some camaraderie? Consider ordering some pizzas, takeout or even cooking for your staff of volunteers. Nonprofit Hub suggested holding a lunch to get to know each contributor better and exchange compliments and kudos

Remember, not only should you provide a meet-and-greet type of lunch or dinner, but also cater food whenever your volunteers work during regular meal time hours. For instance, will your staff and volunteers man the phones to contact your donor base in an effort to drum up more support? If so, consider a group meal beforehand or provide finger foods so your helpers can snack when they get a chance to take a break. VolunteerMatch noted the free food will invigorate your volunteers while they're on the job. 

2. Feature volunteers on your website
Everybody needs a little recognition for their efforts every now and then. Sending a personal handwritten letter of thanks and including a specific instance of how and when they helped your organization is a great touch. However, if you want more people to know about the difference your volunteers make to your nonprofit, then consider writing a featured post about them for your website or your social media pages. Single them out and include anecdotes of what they did for your organization along with their hobbies and what interested them in volunteering for your nonprofit. 

Posting a special feature on your Facebook page, such as a volunteer of the month story, is a free and effective way to show your gratitude. You don't need trophies or gifts to thank your volunteers for all the work they do. Sometimes all it takes is food to fuel them and a little recognition.

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