5 Ideas to Celebrate Your Volunteers

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Show appreciation and boost morale with these creative ways to honor your dedicated volunteers

Volunteers often give countless hours investing in the goals and needs of your ministry. They serve because they care about the mission of your ministry. They don’t serve for recognition or gifts, but we know it feels great to be recognized and appreciated for the time and energy we invest in the most important things.

Volunteers who feel appreciated generally feel more connected to the church or ministry. The opposite can quickly become true, however: volunteers who feel unrecognized and underappreciated may harbor resentment, and may ultimately quit serving, or even attending! A study conducted by OneCause found that 63% of volunteers are more likely to continue their service when they feel appreciated. When volunteers know their work is valued, they are more likely to remain engaged and committed to the ministry’s mission (and they’re more likely to be happy!).

The good news is that it doesn’t take much time or money to celebrate and appreciate your volunteers! 

Here are 5 practical ways you can celebrate Your volunteers:

1. Write a letter expressing your appreciation

Writing a thank-you letter to volunteers shows your appreciation for their time and effort. Let them know how much you value their work and how it positively affects your church or ministry. Be as specific as possible as you talk about how their work blesses the people of your organization! Your letter might go something like this:

Dear (Name of person),

Thank you so much for serving (name of activity or ministry)! Thank you for investing your precious time and energy into (name of activity or ministry). Share a specific story or trait of the person that you are thankful for, or a way their work has blessed others. Please know that you are so appreciated!

2. Give a (thoughtful) Gift

Gifts are an obvious way we say “thank you”, but sometimes the imagined price tag can scare us off from giving gifts to volunteers, especially if we have a large volunteer group or a limited budget! Meaningful gifts don’t have to be expensive though! A good book, a mug, or even something as small as their favorite candy bars and snacks can go a long way to show appreciation. If this person serves a specific group of people, such as a Sunday School class or youth ministry, you could have that group write them notes or a thank you card.

One of the most meaningful gifts I’ve been given by a church was a video compilation of the students I had worked with saying thank you and goodbye as I transitioned out of my role working with them. This gesture only cost the church a little time and video-editing knowledge, yet it meant so much to me.

3. Spotlight Key Volunteers

Volunteers (hopefully!) don’t serve for recognition from others, but we all know that recognition from leadership in a public setting can be an amazing affirmation of the time and effort we’ve put into a project or ministry. This might be a simple word of acknowledgment during a service after a big event, or a regularly designated time where you share the Kingdom impact a volunteer or program is having. You could also share pictures or stories on platforms like social media. Recognizing and saying “thank you” to people in public not only encourages those people, but it also affirms and encourages similar values to others!

4. Host a Volunteer Appreciation Event

Host a special meal or event to celebrate all of your church or ministry’s volunteers. The evening could include food, fun games, a small gift, words of praise or encouragement, or a time to share stories of highlights from the year. Your imagination is the limit on this idea! Be thoughtful about how to make the night enjoyable for the people attending; if you have parents of little children attending, find childcare for the evening or provide childcare reimbursement!

5. Provide Growth or Leadership Opportunities

A little different than the normal “thank you” gift, but investing in your volunteers is a way to demonstrate your appreciation and trust in them. By investing in volunteers, you can help them feel better equipped in their respective roles. This could be anything from attending a conference or webinar to hone their skill, to hosting a training; anything that helps them develop new skills and expand their knowledge in areas relevant to their roles. This will not only benefit their personal growth but also enhance their contribution to the church or ministry.

By taking the time to appreciate and celebrate your volunteers, you not only show them that their hard work and dedication are valued, but you also foster a culture of gratitude and community within your ministry. Remember, it’s often the small, thoughtful gestures that leave the most lasting impact. Whether it’s through a heartfelt letter, a small gift, public recognition, a special event, or opportunities for growth, each act of appreciation helps to build a stronger, more committed volunteer base. So, make it a priority to regularly celebrate your volunteers and watch as your ministry thrives with their continued support and enthusiasm.

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Volunteers

5 Ideas to Celebrate Your Volunteers

Volunteers often give countless hours investing in the goals and needs of your ministry. Volunteers often give countless hours investing in the goals and needs of your ministry. They serve because they care about the mission of your ministry. They don’t serve for recognition or gifts, but we know it feels great to be recognized and appreciated for the time and energy we invest in the most important things. Here are 5 practical ways you can celebrate your volunteers.

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