Last week, we shared this statistic with you: Approximately 63 million Americans — 25% of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. The 2016 national value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour. In other words, Americans contribute $193 billion of their time to our communities!
This time given by your volunteers and the financial value that it represents is truly priceless. Not only do volunteers help you run your organization in many important ways, they also represent community support for your cause. Volunteers are a critical part of your network and resources in your community, especially because they spread awareness about your cause when they talk about their volunteering experience. Because of all these wonderful ways they help you, it is important for you to acknowledge and thank them for their time & effort! Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about how to do this:
1. Provide Snacks/Refreshments for Volunteers
Someone might not have the time to grab lunch or dinner before they come help out, so having some food on hand for them might go a long way both in helping them get through the day, and having them know that you’ve got their back.
2. Publish a Volunteer Newsletter
In this newsletter designed specifically for your volunteers, you can update them on initiatives and even feature a volunteer and their story with your organization. This newsletter will help them feel appreciated, updated, and you can also publish a list of upcoming events where they can help out.
3. Host an Appreciation Dinner
This is a very simple and yet powerful way of gathering all your volunteers together and thanking them for their hard work. You could host at a restaurant, or at your house and have your co-workers help out cooking. If you don’t have the budget for a dinner, you could host an ice cream social or a happy hour.
4. Award volunteers that go above and beyond
If you keep track of volunteers’ individual hours contributed, you could annually give a “prize” or recognition to the person who has volunteered the most hours. You could come up with other awards as well, based on enthusiasm, initiatives, and even how many years they’ve been volunteering with you.
5. Incentivize Participation!
Give your volunteers hats, shirts, stickers, water bottles, or any other similar materials with your logo on it as a token of appreciation. This also serves the double purpose of getting the name of your organization out there more! If people ask your volunteers about the shirt they’re wearing, hopefully your volunteer has a great answer as to what the cause is and how they can get involved!
Your volunteers are part of your team and one of the most valuable and caring resources your organization could ask for. Make sure they know this! Happy volunteers create a more positive image of your organization and ultimately strengthens your reputation in the community, which hopefully will lead to more volunteers, awareness, donations, and an overall healthier org!
If you have more questions about nonprofit strategy you can always reach out to the DipJar fundraising experts for help. It’s what we love to do!