How do nonprofits show appreciation for volunteers?

Snip20160403_27Have you ever volunteered for an organisation and you were treated like you had received 50 years hard labour? Or, have you volunteered for an organisation which seems to express appreciation to you repeatedly?

The fact is charitable organisations can’t thank volunteers enough. Some do it really well and others quite poorly or not at all.

The fact is volunteers are offering a gift of high value – their time. A volunteer’s time is worth the same or more than a major gift. Nonprofit organisations should create a volunteer appreciation matrix, which identifies the appreciation touchpoints in the same way an organisation would have a stewardship matrix for high-level donors.

Organisations should, at a minimum:

  • Send a birthday card to you on your special day.
  • Send Christmas or other year-end cards.
  • Send thank you letters or other acknowledgements after each volunteer job is completed.
  • Send volunteer surveys to ask about and measure your volunteer experience.
  • Hold volunteer recognition events to recongise volunteers of superior service honouring volunteers of the year and others.
  • List volunteers and thank them in annual reports.

Do you have examples where a charity has gone above and beyond to recognise your volunteer service? How about the opposite – where an organisation has not given you the time of day in return for your service? Let me hear from you.