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10 Volunteer Appreciation Ideas For Your Non-Profit

10 Volunteer Appreciation Ideas For Your Non-Profit


Let’s face it. In most cases, if you don’t have volunteers, you can’t reach your goals, thats why we put together a list of Volunteer Appreciation IdeasThey’re the grease that keeps most organizations moving forward. They fill in the holes that donations can’t reach and allow for a large amount of productivity with little to no cost. Consider everything your volunteers do for your organization, and then imagine how much it would cost you if you had to pay for all that labor. 

 As a result, it’s in most non-profits’ best interest to take care of the volunteers they have, including showing them the gratitude they deserve. Satisfied volunteers that feel appreciated are far more likely to remain devoted to your cause. They’ll also work harder and donate more of their time. Showing appreciation is an inexpensive way to build a volunteer workforce that brings their A-game every day. 

 Don’t let your best volunteers fade away, or worse, burn out. Use the volunteer appreciation ideas below with your non-profit to keep your people happy and committed.

SEE ALSO:  How Nonprofits Can Boost Donations and Delight Volunteers

A handwritten thank you card on black with flower illustrations.


Sometimes a simple “Thank you,” elegantly rendered, is enough to express your gratitude adequately. This is particularly true for the occasional “check-in” thanks that help keep your volunteers engaged between larger Volunteer Appreciation Ideas. 

 Handwritten thank you cards are an excellent choice. The time and attention required to create them demonstrate to your recipients just how much they mean to your organization. A single, personalized, hand-rendered thank you note can be as effective as an expensive thank you gift

 And here’s a trick. Your non-profit can enjoy the benefits of handwritten notes without having to devote hours of volunteer time to their creation. You can leverage Simply Noted’s fleet of advanced handwriting machines to mail heartfelt, convincing pen-written letters automatically.


People love feeling recognized for their contributions, and awards are an excellent way to show them appreciation in a very public way. You could sponsor monthly or quarterly contests and honor the winners with their names on a group plaque. Additionally, you could celebrate your top-performing volunteer with a volunteer-of-the-year award.  

 If you have quarterly or annual fundraisers, consider adding a volunteer awards section. You might even hold a yearly volunteer awards ceremony and give out plaques or trophies for various achievements. These public displays of appreciation will go a long way toward motivating your volunteers to give their all.

SEE ALSO:  Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas in 2021


At the time of writing, Covid is still making group gatherings problematic, but in the future, we’ll all be able to meet for an evening of drinks without fear or danger. When that day comes, you could celebrate your devoted volunteers with a gratis happy hour.  

 Open a tab for your volunteers and have some food available. Chips and dip are fine, but offer a nicer spread of food if you can afford it. You can make a significant, positive impression on your volunteers with a small appetizer buffet and free drinks. They’re sure to feel appreciated.


Give your volunteers something to look forward to with a weekly raffle. The prize doesn’t have to be large or expensive. $10 or $20 from the retail establishment of their choice doesn’t cost a lot and offers significant returns. 

 Have your volunteers put their names into a hat each day they help out (or have them send it via email if they’re remote.) At the end of the week, draw a winner. Collecting names each day incentivizes your volunteers to engage often. The more they help, the better their chances of winning.

SEE ALSO:  8 Donation Thank You Letter Ideas

One woman listening to another women speak her piece.


Your volunteers are more than just free labor. They’re intelligent, passionate people with unique perspectives. More than anything, they want to help — and they likely have ideas of how you can do things better.  

 You can show your appreciation for their efforts by giving them a voice within your organization. Create a system through which they can make suggestions and gain an audience with board members when the situation warrants it. They’ll feel more a part of things, and you’ll gain valuable insights.


Your volunteers know that they’re helping people by working with your organization. However, they may only understand this intellectually. You can give them a visceral appreciation for the good they’re doing in the world by gathering thank-yous from the people they’re benefitting. 

 For example, if you run a women’s shelter, you could gather video messages from some of the women whose lives have been changed for the better. These messages make the results of your volunteers’ efforts real to them.

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National Volunteer Week is always the third week in April. In 2022, this celebration period falls between April 17-23rd. Sponsored by Points of Light, an organization devoted to helping non-profits take care of their volunteers, National Volunteer Week serves as a focal point for volunteer appreciation. Make this week an event each year and give your volunteers the recognition they deserve.


Virtual get-togethers are particularly useful for keeping remote volunteers engaged in your internal conversations. You can sponsor weekly virtual meet-ups on a variety of topics. Share information that your volunteers will find helpful, give them a venue for connecting with like-minded people, and create fun virtual events.

SEE ALSO:  How to Write the Best Thank You Letter for Donations + 4 Templates and Samples

A bunch of people on a group trip posing.


Show your best volunteers a note of appreciation by sending them on a trip! Set a performance benchmark using whatever metrics you use to track volunteer performance. At the end of the year, sponsor a trip that’s relevant to your cause and send everyone that qualifies.  

 What do we mean by relevant? If you’re a Jewish charity, you might send winning volunteers to Washington D.C. to spend the day at the Holocaust Museum. Relevant trips are fun, educational, and they keep your volunteers focused on your cause.


You can add corporate donations into your volunteer appreciation efforts by building swag baskets with donated merchandise, this is one of the best Volunteer Appreciation Ideas. Donated swag baskets are a win-win-win. The companies donating merchandise get a tax write-off. You get free swag baskets you can use to honor your volunteers. Your volunteers get free stuff! Swag baskets are a cost-effective way to show your appreciation.

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