Showing your they are appreciated!
There are a number of great ideas out there to show people how much you appreciate their help. I think one of the most important gifts you can give is to be attentive and LISTEN. Not just with your ears, and not just when you ask something … really listen for those creative ideas and suggestions, as well as challenges. These volunteers, leaders, and team members are right in the midst of whatever activity they are assisting with, so they can see and hear many things that you don’t. ‘Thank you gifts’ or ‘appreciation parties’ are great too! We’ve even wrote another blog on the topic HERE. But remember ‘stuff’ is sometimes only half of the equation and not near as valuable or rewarding as knowing that your thoughts and ideas are actually valued. Just remember one thing:
Everyone wants to feel important!
Take the time to find out why that person volunteers, what they want or need to accomplish, or how they think it can be even more rewarding. Show them that you really care about their input.
Many volunteers just want to be recognized for what they do, not necessarily rewarded. They will be thrilled with a little button or a t-shirt they can proudly wear saying “I volunteered for…” or “I helped with …” Take a group photo to put in your church newsletter or local newspaper, and of course social media. Or take individual photos of them throughout the event and make a scrapbook or a slide show. Have a luncheon and show the photos. You can keep it light and fun if you like, it just lets them know that you really did see what they have done. A handwritten personal note goes a long way with people too; much further than a form letter or email.
So I suggest, keep it simple and show them how much you love and respect their willingness to help. What great ideas do you have?
Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.Erma Bombeck
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