4 Minutes to Help Everyone Learn about Volunteer Appreciation

Thank You cake for Calabazas Library volunteers.

Thank You cake for Calabazas Library volunteers.

Boy, do we appreciate our volunteers. The time, passion and talent given by these generous people makes the difference when it comes to creating impact for our communities and the world. They are the best.

But how do we appreciate them? And how does the way we appreciate our volunteers compare to how other organizations show volunteer appreciation?

VolunteerMatch has partnered with txtMovies.com, a company that enables you to send customers, prospects, volunteers, employees and survey respondents movie rental codes, to learn about volunteer appreciation practices across the nonprofit sector.

To do so, we’ve created a super quick, 4-minute survey. The results will help us all better understand volunteer appreciation at nonprofits, and will enable organizations like VolunteerMatch to provide more support and resources to help your organization! (You’ll also be entered to win 25 free movie codes for your nonprofit.)

Please contribute to this important research by taking the quick survey right now! Then stay tuned for updates from Engaging Volunteers to see the results when we publish them.

Take this 4-minute survey from VolunteerMatch and txtMovies.com about volunteer appreciation!

Here’s How You Measure Volunteer Impact

The results are in - check out the Volunteer Impact ReportRemember back in May, 2014 when we launched a survey asking you how you determine the effect volunteer work has on your mission?

The results are in!

55% of nonprofits measure volunteer impact.
Tweet this stat!

Check out this clean, easy-to-read, chart-heavy report we produced in partnership with volunteer technology review firm Software Advice that presents the metrics, indicators and data collection methods nonprofits use to measure volunteers’ impact on their organizations’ outcomes.

In other words, check out this report to see how what YOU do compares to what everyone ELSE does to track volunteer impact at your organizations.

The first ever volunteer impact report from VolunteerMatch and Software Advice.

17% of nonprofits saw an increase in funding as a result of measuring volunteer impact. Tweet this stat!

Hopefully, this report will help you determine areas for improvement, and provide inspiration for how you can best measure the impact of your volunteer program on your nonprofit, your community and your cause.

What do you think of the Volunteer Impact Report? How do the results compare to how your organization tracks volunteer impact? Let us know!

*Special thanks to our partners Software Advice for administering the survey, analyzing the data and producing the report!

Best Practices: Thanking Volunteers Using Online Surveys

Editor’s note: Sometimes it’s the tools themselves that provide the best inspiration. In this case, some folks from an online movie rental company have suggestions for how to show your volunteers some appreciation…

Guest post by Brianna Weinstein & B.C. Ung

Recognize volunteers via online surveys and incentives!

Free movies are a great way to say “thanks!”

Each year millions of volunteers donate their time to nonprofits expecting nothing in return except to feel good about the effort they contributed. They assist your organization because they believe in your cause and hope to make a difference.

Yet, many times, the first volunteer experience doesn’t go as planned and the volunteer for a variety of reasons doesn’t continue to support the organization with a donation of their time.


In the blog post Nonprofit Volunteers: Top Five Tips to Keep Them Coming, author Ilona Bray, J.D., highlights 5 critical activities your organization must do to engage new volunteers including:

  1. Tap Into Volunteers’ Motives
  2. Tell Volunteers What You Expect
  3. Make Volunteering Convenient
  4. Make Volunteering Fun
  5. Show Appreciation

While each of these activities is equally important for volunteer engagement many nonprofits struggle with cost effective ways to Show Appreciation (#5).

At txtMovies, we’ve noticed a trend where nonprofits are using online surveys to show appreciation and at the same time collect valuable feedback.

You might think that making a volunteer fill out a survey doesn’t sound like you’re showing them much appreciation. And we would agree that a 75 question survey that takes 45 minutes to complete would not seem like sincere gratitude.

However, a well-designed, brief survey (think <4 minutes to fill out) that includes a survey incentive, such as a “movie of their choice,” is a great way to say “we appreciate you” and “we value your opinion”.

In this regard, how can your organization benefit from this approach?

What if you could better understand why volunteers donate their time on an individual basis?

  • What if you could determine if a volunteer’s service met their expectations?
  • What if you could learn how to make it more convenient for volunteers to donate their time.
  • What if you could discover what aspects of their service most appealed to each volunteer?
  • What if you could do all of the above and show volunteers your appreciation at the same time?

Now we know what you’re thinking. This sounds time consuming and expensive. The reality is far different. Most online survey software is easy to use and free (or at least discounted for nonprofit organizations). And treating volunteers to a “movie of their choice” via txtMovies is only $1.99 per movie. Not exactly a budget buster.

So if your organization relies upon volunteers, try showing them your appreciation using online survey incentives. By analyzing and acting on the feedback you receive, you could potentially increase the number and quality of volunteers who sincerely want to contribute to your cause.

Briana Weinstein is an undergraduate scholar athlete at the University of Southern California. B.C. Ung is a board advisor to txtMovies and has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Clubs in a fundraising capacity.

(Photo from AFS-USA Intercultural Programs on Flickr.)

Use This Awesome Free Graphic to Say “Thanks!” to Your Volunteers

Happy FestiVOL! As part of this week’s celebration of everything that’s fun about volunteering, here’s a super cool graphic that you can customize to show your volunteers how much you appreciate them.

Customize this cool graphic to show your volunteers how much you appreciate them for National Volunteer Week and FestiVOL!

Click here to easily customize and download the graphic, and then share it on your blog, on social media and over email, and be sure to use the hashtag #VolunteerHeroes to share inspiring stories.

Great job Nonprofit Toolkit for coming up with this graphic – we can always use more super heroes in this world! Make sure you thank the ones who are already helping your organization.

How are you celebrating National Volunteer Week? Let us know using hashtag #FestiVOL!

It’s FestiVOL Season

Volunteering is the best, right? So this year, in honor of National Volunteer Week, we’ve decided to celebrate volunteers and the difference they make by launching a spectacular week-long FestiVOL – and we want YOU to join us!

Why FestiVOL?

Join VolunteerMatch for FestiVOL, a week-long celebration of volunteering in honor of National Volunteer Week.At VolunteerMatch, we hope FestiVOL will help your organization make the most of National Volunteer Week. Whether it‘s appreciating your volunteers, strengthening existing relationships, or building new ones, VolunteerMatch will be providing tips on how you can increase engagement.

Part of our goal for FestiVOL is to help more nonprofit organizations – like yours – find the right volunteers. So each day we will release three “nuggets” just for you: One piece of inspiration, one piece of knowledge, and one action. We hope you’ll share these with your volunteers and community members, learn from them, and encourage everyone to get more involved.

What about ways that you can make an impact volunteering? FestiVOL will also provide resources to encourage your own participation in the community. Often times, simply sharing what causes you are passionate about can inspire others to make a difference, as well.

Join FestiVOL!

FestiVOL will run from April 6-12. You can see all the nuggets as we release them on the FestiVOL landing page.

You and your nonprofit can join FestiVOL by following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #FestiVOL. We hope FestiVOL gives you the energy, passion and ideas to make our communities stronger and our world happier all year long!

How will YOU celebrate volunteering during FestiVOL?

Gorgeous FestiVOL graphic designed by Katy Roby.