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6 min read

7 Ways to Show Volunteer Appreciation Using Your Website

February 19, 2024

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Taking the time to recognize volunteers is essential to increasing retention and recruiting new supporters. As your nonprofit’s online hub, your website can be an effective marketing tool for showing volunteer appreciation and engaging with volunteers year-round.

The top nonprofit websites take every opportunity to keep supporters at the center of the story and express gratitude for their involvement. Let’s explore seven tips to show appreciation to volunteers using your organization’s website. 

1. Show volunteers the bigger picture.

Often, volunteers might be given tasks like sorting files or packaging canned goods. Passionate supporters are happy to help in any way they can, but they still want to know the bigger picture of why what they’re doing matters. 

Use your website to provide context and perspective for volunteers’ work. For example, you might share an impact story on your blog about a family of five who can now play safely at a local park because of volunteers’ trash pick-up efforts. Share photos, videos, and direct quotes from beneficiaries to spark an emotional connection and introduce volunteers to the people they’re helping. 

By giving volunteers greater context into how their actions support your mission, they’ll feel much more appreciated and motivated to stay involved. 

2. Spotlight volunteer benefits.

Volunteers benefit from that intangible “warm and fuzzy feeling” that comes with doing good deeds. There are even real health benefits for people who volunteer, such as improved mental health and reduced blood pressure. 

Use your nonprofit’s website to highlight these advantages and additional benefits you offer volunteers, such as: 

  • Free resources, including downloadable eBooks, podcasts, webinars, etc. 
  • Discounts on event tickets or merchandise
  • Volunteers-only discounts at local businesses or restaurants

In addition, feature your event calendar prominently on your website. According to fundraising statistics compiled by Double the Donation, 35% of volunteers get involved to socialize, so spotlighting fun activities is a great way to show volunteers that you appreciate them and want to provide a positive experience.

Your event calendar should not only include upcoming volunteer opportunities but also social events and meetups where supporters can mingle in a casual, fun setting. These might include dinners or happy hours, hikes, bowling events, or movie nights.

3. Feature volunteer stories.

During volunteer events, take the time to interact with volunteers and get to know them personally. Based on these interactions, choose one or two volunteers each month to feature in interviews on your nonprofit’s blog. 

Include the following elements in your volunteer stories:

Essential components of a compelling volunteer story (outlined in the list below) 

  • Background information on the volunteer, including how long they’ve participated, why they volunteer, and their favorite aspect of your mission
  • Images and direct quotes from the volunteer that demonstrate their engagement with your cause
  • Thank-you messages from community members and your nonprofit’s staff members to show appreciation to the volunteer for their dedication

Kanopi’s content marketing guide recommends telling inclusive stories that “reflect the diverse communities your organization serves, welcoming and embracing all of your [website] users.” Make sure your volunteer stories include volunteers from all walks of life and backgrounds to showcase the diversity of your supporter community. 

4. Offer volunteer awards.

You probably have several volunteers who go above and beyond to provide significant support to your nonprofit. Show these individuals that you recognize and value their contributions by highlighting volunteer awards on your website.

For example, you can offer awards such as: 

  • A Volunteer of the Month or Year award to honor specific volunteers with special blog posts
  • An award for your top fundraising volunteer, whether they directly donated to your nonprofit, participated in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, or contributed volunteer grants via their employer
  • Volunteer superlatives, such as “Most Enthusiastic,” “Most Inspirational,” etc. 
  • A virtual “Hall of Fame” with the names of volunteers who have accomplished certain achievements, such as volunteering for over 100 hours

Provide specific examples that make it clear why you’re giving the award to a volunteer. For instance, you could say “James contributed a whopping $3,000 this year via a combination of peer-to-peer fundraising contributions and volunteer grants, making him our 2024 Fundraising Hero.”

5. Create appreciation videos.

An appreciation video is a great way to bring your written thank-you notes to life. Gather your nonprofit’s staff members as well as community members who have benefited from volunteer support to create a gratitude video. 

In the video, highlight volunteers’ impact using eye-catching statistics. Include clips of volunteers in action interacting with community members or working on projects. 

Reach more volunteers by sharing your videos across multiple platforms, including your website’s blog, social media pages, and email newsletter. When audience members who don’t yet volunteer come across your videos, they’ll see how much your nonprofit respects and appreciates its supporters, which can boost your recruiting efforts

6. Host online appreciation events. 

Invite volunteers to a special appreciation event where you thank all volunteers at once and celebrate their accomplishments. Host the event in a hybrid or fully virtual setting to provide a convenient way for supporters to tune in from home. 

Here are a few event ideas to consider depending on your volunteers’ interests: 

  • A virtual trivia or game night
  • An appreciation gala with awards and a keynote speaker
  • A virtual networking event
  • A virtual concert or comedy show

To increase engagement, give your event a fun theme, such as “90s Throwback” or “Hollywood Red Carpet.” Also, consider sending attendees party favors, such as free tote bags or fridge magnets. 

7. Ask for feedback. 

Asking volunteers for feedback is a win-win situation for both volunteers and your nonprofit. Volunteers get to make their voices heard, while your organization can access valuable insights that help shape the direction of your program. 

For example, let’s say you’re a volunteer coordinator for a healthcare-focused nonprofit. You want to understand how volunteers feel about your meal prep program where supporters cook dinners for families with children staying in a local hospital. 

Include a feedback survey on your healthcare website asking volunteers to share their experiences and offer suggestions to improve the program. Ask volunteers to provide input on the timing of volunteer opportunities, the sense of fulfillment they get from the program, and whether they would recommend the program to a friend. 

After receiving survey responses, be sure to thank volunteers, summarize key trends in responses, and outline a plan for addressing volunteers’ feedback.

Your website provides the first impression for potential new supporters and an information hub for current volunteers. By leveraging this platform to show volunteers your appreciation, you can engage and retain more supporters and inspire new volunteers to get involved. 

Guest Contributer

Written by Guest Contributer

This article was written by a VolunteerMatch Guest Contributor.