96 Ways and Counting to Recognize Your Volunteers

Ballarat Volunteer Fire Brigade has attended calls this year - public volunteer recognition
Recognizing volunteers publicly

It’s tough to measure all the ways volunteers help us do our work. Whether it’s making sure our events run smoothly, activating their online networks for our fundraising campaigns, giving their time, expertise and resources as board members, or any of the other myriad contributions volunteers make to help nonprofits fulfill their missions, needless to say they make a big difference.

So it makes sense that the list of ways to recognize the contribution of volunteers would be long. Like, VERY long.

A discussion in the VolunteerMatch LinkedIn group recently set out to list the best ways to recognize and appreciate volunteers – and so far we’re up to 96! Clearly this is a hot topic, and one for which we can all use some peer support.


If you’re looking for great ways to recognize your volunteers, or you have some creative ideas to share, join the VolunteerMatch LinkedIn group and contribute to the discussion.

For now, I’ve curated all of the amazing suggestions and listed the top 20 volunteer recognition ideas for you.

Recognize your volunteers with:

  • T-shirts
  • Books
  • Gift cards and discount coupons from local businesses
  • Keychains, flashlights, pins, pens, and other little bits of swag from your org
  • Photos of themselves in action
  • Hand-written notes signed by the staff
  • Thank you letters from those they served/impacted
  • Recognition events
  • Parties
  • Mentions and thanks on social media
  • Donations in their name
  • Letters to their bosses or family members recognizing their contributions
  • Free membership to the organization
  • A smile and a “thank you”
  • Showing them the impact of their work
  • Training and education sessions to help them develop their skills
  • Asking them how it’s going and and how could be better
  • Nominating them for a Presidential Volunteer Service Award
  • Telling their story in your newsletter
  • Giving them greater responsibility in the organization

Intrigued? For more great ideas and to share your own, join the VolunteerMatch LinkedIn group and check out this discussion.

(Photo from Lachlan Hardy on Flickr)