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How to say thank you to a group of volunteers

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How to say thank you to a group of volunteers
September 08, 2018 Holiday Thanks No comments

Природе никогда бы не сотворить такое вот совершенное кольцо из звезд равной яркости. И в видимой части Вселенной нет ничего похожего на Центральное Солнце. -- Но. зачем же это понадобилось?.

Volunteers offer their time for all kinds of reasons, they come from all walks of life and are all ages.It is important for organisations to acknowledge the contribution and difference that volunteers make in order to keep them motivated and feel appreciated.

Here are a few suggestions to help you say 'Thank You' to your valuable volunteers:-

1. Remember their birthday and Christmas, post a hand written card or drop them a little note. We are all so wrapped up in the electronic age of e-mails and other communication via the internet that nowadays a hand written letter, note or card stands out from the crowd and will be noticed.

2. Initiate an annual awards ceremony within your organisation and provide certificates of appreciation to your volunteers or perhaps a small gift if possible.

3. Offer training opportunities and invite your volunteers to participate. Volunteers looking for a change of career or work experience given the opportunity would value the chance to up skill.

4. Permit volunteers to attend seminars and conferences and keep them informed of any upcoming events by adding them into any general e-mails and notices sent to staff.

5. From time to time it can be good to have a "Volunteer Appreciation Day." This could, for example, be a lunch, dinner, barbecue or even a picnic. National Volunteering Week 2015 taking place May 11th – 17th could be the perfect opportunity to host this kind of event. Read our blog for more details on this event.

6. If you have a photograph board inside your reception which consists of staff and their job title, consider adding photographs of your volunteers too. Give them appropriate job titles; do not just add "Volunteer" as each volunteer should have a defined role within your organisation. This acknowledgment helps to make your volunteers feel a valued part of the team.

7. Let volunteers put their name to something they have helped to produce or make happen.

8. Saying thank you face to face to volunteers is very important. It is also good to offer an open door policy for volunteer to discuss with you any issues that arise if needs be, this promotes friendly and supported environment for volunteers.

9. If your volunteer sits at a computer all day one thing that can be offered as part of the position would be an eye test at the organisations expense.

10. Nominate your volunteers for any National recognition ceremonies like the Volunteer Ireland Awards. Keep informed of what is going on and who and when you can put nominees forward.

11. If your organisation has something to offer, for example a sports organisation may be able to offer free membership to their volunteers, this is a great way to say thank you.

12. Offer a small welcome pack when a volunteer attends their induction to your organisation, this could include information about the organisation, role descriptions, a t-shirt, hat or organisation pen, something to take home and keep.

13. Talk to your volunteers and match their desires with the organisations needs, give them a voice within the organisation, consider any suggestions carefully and if you initiate a suggestion that works make sure to acknowledge the value of the change and appreciation of the effects.

14. If your volunteer has been with you for a number of years and hits a milestone like 5 years reliable service for example, consider sending them some flowers or maybe even having a celebration party.

15. Celebrate the years work together by inviting your volunteers to your organisations annual party.

There are many more ways to say thank you, if your organisation has found a way that works and would like to add to this list to help others please feel free to post a comment below.

Written by Wendy Brosnahan

Tags: OrganisationsNational Volunteering Week

I know you've heard this from me many times before and I will say it again and again because it is the truth Volunteer Appreciation Week – Thank You from Theresa Strader . you all are an amazing group of volunteers.

Q. Are you scratching your head trying to come up with some effective ways to encourage your small group volunteers?

Writing a thank you note is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to let your volunteers know you appreciate them. Your words will inspire those who read them. If you don’t think a thank you note is effective, think again. We usually underestimate the impact it can have. Don’t let that stop you from sending out notes of thanks.

The Apostle Paul knew the importance of expressing thanks to others. He included a thank you message in his letters to churches. He found reasons to express thanks even when he had to deliver a difficult message. It was important that every person he wrote too, knew he appreciated them. It is an effective way to encourage others.

Q. So how do you write a thank you note that has an impact?

Consider these tips when getting out your pen and paper:

  • Your thank you note doesn’t have to be long to have an impact. A few sentences written from the heart can be more encouraging and memorable than a longer letter.
  • Handwrite the note. A note that is handwritten stands out.
  • Allow your personality to flow out of your writing. Think of this as a personal note rather than business correspondence.
  • Write legibly. It doesn’t matter if you write in cursive or print. Use the method that is the most legible. Your message will be lost if the recipient can’t read it.
  • Use correct spelling, especially when writing the volunteer’s name.
  • Use quality note cards when possible. I frequently look for sales at stationery stores and stock up so I always have quality note cards on hand without breaking the bank.

A message from Santa Steve: “Give yourself a Christmas gift that will not only strengthen your leadership, but your small group ministry as well! Lock in early bird price by Dec 31st, HERE!“

The Structure of an Encouraging Thank You Note:

Structure your note with these six parts in mind and you will have it written in very little time.

#1. Greeting

Start the thank you note by identifying the person being thanked. Write the greeting with the name they prefer to be called. Usually, you will use their first name only.

The greeting can be only their name or something like “Hi <name>”

#2. Thank the Recipient

I believe the Apostle Paul was great at expressing his thanks. He did it in a way that communicated his thanksgiving while also acknowledging God’s presence. He almost always wrote something like “I thank God for you…” (Philippians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:2)

Let the recipient know you appreciate him or her.

#3. A Reason Why

After expressing your thanks to the recipient, identify why you are thankful. Be as specific as possible.

If you are having a difficult time thinking of specific reasons, read “10 Reasons I am Thankful for Small Group Leaders” to kick-start some ideas.

#4. Impact

There are many things people could be doing instead of volunteering with your small group ministry. So why do they volunteer? A big reason is that they want to make a difference.

Let your volunteers know how they are making a difference.

#5. Restate Your Thankfulness

Express again how appreciative you are for their involvement. You could write something like “I appreciate you” or “I’m excited you’re on my team.”

#6. Closing

The closing can be as simple as signing your first name. Also, you can consider adding a salutation before your signature like “Yours in Christ” or “Thanks again”.

How to 10X the Impact of Your Thank You Note Activity:

If your volunteer lives with a spouse or parent, send the spouse or parent a thank you card. Let them know how thankful you are for their support of the volunteer’s efforts. Tell them how their loved one is making a difference.

You are now encouraging the key encouragers of your volunteers!

Get Started:

That is all there is to writing an effective thank you note. Now all you have to do is address the envelope and hand it to them or put it in the mail to be delivered to their mailbox.

Be sure to give these tips to your small group coaches and leaders so they can do the same for everyone they lead. It will boost the well-being of everyone in your small group ministry.

Roger Carr

https://www.smallgroupinternational.com

Roger Carr lives in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia with his wife Kim. They have been married for over 35 years and have a son who is enjoying life in Minneapolis. Roger is an engineer by day and small group advocate by night. He supports the small group ministry at Lifepoint Church through leading, coaching, and writing. He is also the blogger behind SmallGroupInternational.com.

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Submitted by Sarah Oliver, Asst. Regional Director, Women in Community Service, Washington, USA

I have a relatively small group of volunteers (about 150), so I have the luxury of getting to know them a bit...I find that most of our volunteers feel most "recognized" by things that show that they are a truly integral part of our organization. For instance, keeping them updated on new programs and initiatives, asking for their input about possible projects, etc. I also like to pass along articles, interesting website addresses, job announcements and so on to people I think might like them.


Submitted by Mindy Moyer, Director of Development, Indian Creek Foundation, Harleysville, PA

I loved your comments on the overdone pins, T-shirts and trinkets. I am the Director of Development (the volunteer program is just one of my hats) at an agency serving people with mental retardation. We have a formal recognition event during the holiday season completely organized by volunteers and their Friends with disabilities). They thoughtfully choose the decorations, school children make decorations for their Christmas trees to be used as favors, and the program is a few volunteers and their Friends telling stories of their experiences throughout the year. They are so moving. We usually invite a few "extra guests" many of whom sign up to volunteer after the program. We end the evening by singing carols. For thank yous throughout the year we receive donated tickets for events, movies, concerts etc. and pass them to volunteers who are delighted to have the opportunities without the high costs.


Submitted by Diane Leipper, Leipper Management Group, NV

As a long time manager of volunteers and as a volunteer myself, I have experienced recognition on both sides of the fence. I have learned one of the best ways to recognize volunteers is to recognize that they exist. Recognize that they are individuals with their own agendas, their own needs, and their own gifts that they bring to your program. They are an intregal part of team not just a resource you use to fill need then give them a pat on the back and put away until next time.

The most effective way to recognize this is to give them your time. This isn't your duty, it is your privilege. You get to work with people that aren't motivated by a paycheck, retirement benefits, or a big promotion, that come because they care about the mission of your program. I know full well all the demands on our time and the fact that many of us work with large numbers of volunteers - but aren't we called volunteer managers because a major focus of our jobs is volunteers? (I mean volunteers as people, not just volunteers as statistics we have to recruit, train, document, record, and report for the bottom line.) I sometimes wonder if subconsciously we are influenced by the thought process, "they are JUST volunteers".

If a volunteer wants to talk, give them the opportunity, listen to them. It is not a waste of time to hear about the grandchildren or their concerns about the increase in bus fare. Take the time to stop and visit with them while they are working and ask them about the job. Listen to their suggestions and follow through if appropriate, if not discuss why with them. Include them in decisions about the work they do. Say hi and ask them what is new when you see them in the hall or in the grocery store. Be willing to promote their ideas and suggestions to someone up the ladder in the organization if appropriate and necessary. Listen to criticism openly, not defensively, and discuss possible solutions.


Submitted by Debbie Thompson, Volunteer Coordinator, Illinois

As a volunteer coordinator in a church, it is important that we recognize all gifts of service. We try to give recognition in many different ways, but one of the best things we have done recently is to have our clients, predominantly seniors and shut-ins share their view of how important it is to be included in the life of the church through our lay visitation program. It was truly heart warming to hear these people discuss the importance of our volunteers in their lives during a special sermon planned by our pastor and the lay ministry chairman. No offense Susan, but these are usually the best speakers at recognition events because they not only know about the program they are personally involved with the volunteers.

A quick response from Susan Ellis:
No apology needed to me for two reasons, Debbie. First, because the whole point of this area is to generate many different points of view. In fact, I wish there was more controversy and debate in these pages (even though I'm delighted that more and more site visitors are taking the time to post a response).  But the second reason you don't have to apologize is that having clients speak to volunteers at your recognition event is a wonderful example of doing exactly what I was urging! It wasn't the meal or the decorations that I was complaining about; it was the lack of relevance to the work volunteers do all year. Hearing from clients is right on target. And sometimes "mushy" is just the right tone, too.


Submitted by Mary Kay Hood, Director of Volunteer Services, Hendricks Community Hospital, Danville, Indiana USA

I agree with the philosophy of recognizing achievements rather than hours. Interestingly enough, when I took over the volunteer program 1 1/2 years ago, I had the opportunity to change directions with the recognition event and concentrated on what volunteers accomplish as a whole for the hospital. Several weeks after the event, one of the volunteers sort of reprimanded me for not recognizing the hours commitment of one of her fellow volunteers. He's a retired certified EMT and spends well over 40 hours each week helping out in the ER department. Now, he chooses to do this and he's very well thought of by the staff in ER. But that just goes to show you, seems as though you just can't make everyone happy.


Submitted by Carol A. Youngman, Community Volunteer Coordinator - Martinez Refining Company, California

I am the volunteer coordinator for a refining company on the West Coast. So often when there is a special event it is the management team that get invited. Recently I attended an awards presentation and took several members of my focus group to the event. They loved the outing and meeting with other businesses who are developing a habit of the heart for volunteering. You should have heard the ideas generated on the ride home which will surely set the pace for 1999 for our company. It was energizing to say the least.

My company has generously given each employee 18 hours of release time to participate in a volunteer project. Recognition comes in many forms but one that is generic and well received is a lapel pin I had designed which says simply "MRC Volunteer" which I give to those who have participated in a volunteer event. This has generated much enthusiasm among our employees. Last Thursday I put out a call for over 80 volunteers for an upcoming event - by the end of the following work day I had all the slots filled - quoting several of the new comers that signed up "I want that volunteer button!" For those employees who have completed their 18 hours, they receive a license plate frame that says "Adding Value to the Community - Martinez Refining Company Volunteer" - this has become a noteworthy source of pride not only to our employee volunteers but the company as well. For our employees who work on educational projects, I find out from the school librarians which books they would like to obtain and have the volunteer's name placed on a book plate to honor them for their participation and role. My volunteers love it and needless to say so do the schools.


Submitted by Kirsten Sanford, Volunteer Coordinator, Celebrate Seniority, Good Samaritan Hospital, Puyallup, Washington

I am new in the field as a volunteer director. My volunteers have told me they are tired of t-shirts, mugs etc. I asked them what they thought about restaurant or movie theater gift certificates--they liked that idea. I would love feedback for other ideas. My volunteers are seniors and most are tired of "stuff". Thanks.


Submitted by Kim Johnson, Coordinator of Volunteers & Humane Education, Kansas City, MO USA

I have worked as a volunteer coordinator for over ten years in the social service field. I think we are missing the mark when we give out awards based on the amount of hours someone puts in. I have seen many people who have busy family lives go to great lengths to arrange for day care and juggle work responsibilities in order to make their one four hour shift a month. They keep coming back every month faithfully. It seems we only focus on the volunteer who makes our organization their sole project, giving endless hours because they don't have the responsibilities others do. I would like to see more focus on individual traits that volunteers bring to the cause. We have one volunteer who takes the time during each shift to thank the paid workers for what they do for the shelter because she knows its a hard job. Another volunteer has a gift for helping clients see different sides of a problem. I'm glad professionals in the volunteer field are talking about different options.


Submitted by Jerry Heinold, Peer Volunteer Coordinator - DePelchin Children's Center, Texas USA

Since every volunteer has a unique personality, not all feel appreciated by the same method. Therefore, why not ask the volunteers what would make them feel most appreciated. There are subtle ways to ask so that you know what to do to insure that they feel appreciated and that they get the most out of it too.


Submitted by Kathy Gattinger, Volunteer Center Director, Arkansas

It takes extra time to get to know your volunteers, especially if they volunteer "in the field". It is worth taking the time, or at least asking some appropriate questions on an application form. As a volunteer, I'm not big on receiving an annual certificate, but ask me to give a presentation about the program, or help with training, and I feel good! I know that I'm appreciated for my talents and abilities. I also like tangible things like coffee mugs and pens. I use them in the office, which is constant advertising for the program.


Submitted by Betty Anton, Director Volunteer Services, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, Pennsylvania

I agree with your assessment of most volunteer recognition programs and special events. We still have many volunteers who really enjoy coming to a special dinner in their honor during National Volunteer Week. We have approximately 600 volunteers in our organization and over 425 attend this recognition event. The problem that I have today is that of recognizing our teen volunteers in a meaningful way. We have seen decreasing numbers of teens and their families attending these programs. There is just too much going on in the lives of these busy teens and their working parents. One of the best ideas I have seen is from one of my colleagues in Pennsylvania and that is to recognize teens before their peers at their schools. You can present them with a gift and certificate at an awards assembly. It takes a lot of work, but is much more meaningful. I am thinking of trying it next year!


Submitted by Cheryl Morehouse, Manager, Vol. Svs., St. Joseph Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

I agree about making volunteer "recognition" meaningful. I'm a fairly new greenhorn yet in the field (been in volunteer management for four years). Being a person who does a tremendous amount of community service on my own, I always try to keep in mind what the volunteer would like as far as recognition. Yes, we have a splashy, traditional volunteer recognition "banquet" every April; but I find what means the most to our long-term, senior volunteers especially is the impromptu, on-the-spot recognition. Our volunteer love a surprise lunch, card, personal hand-written letter, small thoughtful gifts, hugs...... etc. I have a high turnover rate with a great percentage of my volunteers (mostly college students), and what they appreciate most are practical gifts. I always try to find something unique, practical workable for either gender. I detest "hours pins" for the same reasons as our host asking for our input about this question. I have tried to put a personal touch on everything I do concerning recognizing volunteers, from creating all the decorations for special events myself, to providing the musical entertainment. The most enjoyable part of my job is just simply the personal connection with each volunteer, really listening to and caring about them, and demonstrating my love and appreciation for them on a daily basis.

Perhaps your group of volunteers is too large to personalize each of the gifts. That's ok! There are still creative ways to say thank you that take.

15 Ways to Thank Your Volunteers

ARE YOU A VOLUNTEER?

Resources

Thanking and Supporting Volunteers - 50 ideas

1. Evaluate volunteer involvement on an ongoing basis
2. Create a climate in which volunteers can feel motivated
3. Say thank you often, and mean it
4. Match the volunteer's desires with the organisation's needs
5. Send birthday cards
6. Provide a clear role description for every volunteer
7. Make sure new volunteers are welcomed warmly
8. Highlight the impact that the volunteer contribution is having on the organisation
9. Show an interest in volunteers' personal interests and their outside life
10. Tell volunteers they have done a good job
11. Always have work for your volunteers to do and never waste their time
12. Give volunteers a real voice within the organisation
13. Set up a volunteer support group
14. Provide meaningful and enjoyable work
15. Send 'thank you' notes and letters when appropriate
16. Smile when you see them!
17. Say something positive about their personal qualities
18. Involve volunteers in decision-making processes
19. Give a certificate to commemorate anniversaries of involvement
20. Develop a volunteer policy
21. Allow volunteers the opportunity to debrief, especially if they work in stressful situations
22. Let volunteers put their names to something they have helped to produce or to make happen
23. Differentiate clearly between the roles of paid staff, trainees and volunteers
24. Have a volunteer comments box and consider any suggestions carefully
25. Make sure the volunteer coordinator is easily accessible and has an 'open door' policy
26. Provide insurance cover
27. Supervise volunteers' work
28. Have a vision for volunteer involvement in your organisation
29. Do not impose new policies and procedures without volunteers' input
30. Ask volunteers themselves how the organisation can show it cares
31. Permit volunteers to attend seminars, conferences and workshops from time to time
32. Give volunteers a proper induction
33. Celebrate the year's work together
34. Offer to write volunteers letters of reference
35. Accept that different volunteers are able to offer different levels of involvement
36. Accept that an individual volunteer's ability to commit may change over time
37. Ask volunteers' opinions when developing new policies and strategies
38. Make sure the Director (in large organisations) shows her/his personal appreciation of the volunteers' work
39. Pass on any positive comments about volunteers from clients to the volunteers themselves
40. Provide the opportunity for 'leave of absence'
41. Add volunteers to memo and e-mail distribution lists
42. Set solid goals for volunteers and keep communicating them
43. Provide car or bike parking for volunteers
44. Give the volunteer a title which reflects the work they do (not just 'volunteer')
45. Consider providing, or paying for, child care for volunteers who are parents
46. Inform the local press about the excellent work of your volunteers
47. Undertake individual supervision and support sessions
48. Always be courteous
49. Maintain regular contact with volunteers, even if they work 'off-site' or at odd hours
50. Allow volunteers to 'get out' without feeling guilty
This fact sheet is used by kind permission of
Volunteering Ireland
Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups
Coleraine House
Coleraine Street Dublin 7

how to say thank you to a group of volunteers

I know you've heard this from me many times before and I will say it again and again because it is the truth Volunteer Appreciation Week – Thank You from Theresa Strader . you all are an amazing group of volunteers.

how to say thank you to a group of volunteers
Written by Tobar
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