Recognition Ideas for Your Volunteers

Posted by Michele Biordi, CAE on Apr 4, 2017 3:46:26 PM

Volunteers are the lifeblood for any nonprofit organization but how often are you showing your appreciation for these dedicated members? They should be thanked as soon as they begin their volunteer journey and that should continue on a frequent basis throughout their time of volunteering within your organization.

Most associations recognize volunteers at the annual convention or meeting but here are some quick, easy and inexpensive ways to acknowledge volunteers all throughout the year.


Send a birthday or anniversary card or email greeting. Not all associations track birthdays but I bet you have the join date for that member. Why not set up an auto-email and include a note of thanks? Or even better, send a card via snail mail. #



Write a recommendation on LinkedIn. The next time someone does something outstanding take five extra minutes and write them a recommendation on LinkedIn outlining their achievement.


Scroll or feature on website or electronic newsletter. Many new websites easily allow for a scroll of names or logos. Typically this function is used to recognize sponsors but it would also be a fantastic way to acknowledge volunteers. Alternatively, featuring a volunteer on the website homepage or in an electronic newsletter is a great way to show thanks to a standout member.


Mail a thank you and include a $5 gift card. Keep a stack of these in your desk and when an important project launches or a difficult challenge is overcome, send a quick note. Time management tip: Schedule 15 minutes on your calendar weekly for this exercise.


Get your board involved! Peer to peer recognition means a lot so feel free to engage your board in recognizing volunteers especially members of committees and/or chairs. Remember, those folks are likely your future leaders (board members) for the association!

We have a lot of opportunities to say thank you. We just need to take a moment and make it happen. What ideas do you have to recognize volunteers? Share in the comments!

Topics: volunteer engagement