Volunteer appreciation methods

Recognize volunteers year-round for their impact in your program.

Silhouettes of multiple colors of hands with colored hearts on the palms.
Photo by Pixabay.

As the famous (uncited) quote notes, “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” Any organization that utilizes volunteers knows the powerful impact that volunteers can have in the community and the benefits for both the program and the volunteers, themselves.

While we celebrate Global Volunteer Month in April, volunteers should be celebrated year-round in a variety of ways.

Consider ways you can show gratitude for your volunteers including these ideas:

  • Send a hand-written thank you note from yourself or a council/board.
  • Call and share a thank you message.
  • Send an e-mail with messages of appreciation.
  • Hold a recognition event or “coffee” hour with drinks and snacks at the office.
  • Send or hand out a token of appreciation gift item.
  • Share the names of volunteers with county commissioners, legislators or other community leaders for local recognition.
  • Publish volunteer names in the local paper with a kudos for their role.
  • Provide a round of applause and announcement at meetings or events after having volunteers stand up.
  • Nominate volunteers for awards such as Governor’s Service Award or other community based volunteer awards.

Knowing your volunteers and what methods of recognition and appreciation are most meaningful for them can be helpful to truly connect to their motivation. Taking time to share your appreciation and the organization’s gratitude can have a large impact on their continued involvement in the role.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or entrepreneurship, contact 4-HCareerPrep@msu.edu.

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