Finding ways to show your appreciation for your volunteers will help foster good relationships, build loyalty, and encourage them to recruit other volunteers through word-of-mouth about their good experience.
Here are three ways that you can give back to your volunteers to show your appreciation and offer incentive for continued volunteering besides gifts or payment:
Many nonprofits offer their volunteers college credit in exchange for a certain number of hours. This requires working with the college or university where they attend to provide the proper documentation. The student may also be required to write a paper or submit another project for the “term.”
The amount of college credit given will vary by college – anywhere from 1 to 4 hours is standard. Talk to representatives at schools in your area to find out what you need to do to offer this incentive.
Students and other volunteers often sign up for service as a way to gain experience or to pad their resume. Why not help your volunteers by offering to write a reference letter for future employers or applications for programs of study or internships? It’s an easy way to let your volunteers know that you appreciate a job well done, and by letting others know about the good work they have done, you are helping them advance.
It won’t take you long to write a reference letter, and anything you say should be a genuine assessment of your volunteer’s work.
Social gatherings are a nice way to show your appreciation for your volunteers, and they also provide good opportunities for them to network with others in the nonprofit industry. These gatherings can help your volunteers make connections that lead to job opportunities and advancement. Again, it’s a simple way for you to help your volunteers and to show your appreciation.
Finding ways to offer your volunteers these incentives not only shows your appreciation for them, but it encourages others to volunteer with your nonprofit by showing them how much you value your volunteers and want to find ways to give back.
What kinds of incentives does your nonprofit offer volunteers? Share them in the comments!
Shari led Online Marketing and Communications at VolunteerMatch from 2010-2015. After working with nonprofits for 9 years, she moved over to the corporate sector and is now leading Inbound Marketing for a tech company in San Francisco.