“How you decide to thank your volunteers can be as important as the decision to thank them at all. It will be informed by many factors: on a general level, how many volunteers you have, their physical proximity to you and the culture your charity has decided for itself.
More specifically, you should always tailor your thanks to the individual volunteers. A very public expression of thanks, be it in a report or at an event, may help to carry weight. Though for people who are uncomfortable in the limelight, a quiet pat on the back, a private email or a telephone call may be better.”
The NCVO Members Quick Guide to Thanking Volunteers
When you are planning how to say THANK YOU to your volunteers you may have a number of things to consider:
- How many volunteers you have
- When you need to hold the event to ensure as many as possible can attend – there’s no point choosing a Wednesday evening if half the volunteers are at their Zumba class! [checking availability is a sensible step]
- Is it an informal gathering or a more formal occasion?
- Where you will be holding it? Don’t just think about the geographical location, but also about things like parking, access for those who may be less mobile and how big a venue you need
- Who to invite – if you need someone key to attend such as your Chair, Chief Exec or a local MP, you may need to work the event around their availability
- Plan a programme for the event – a rough plan of who’s doing what and when is always reassuring and if it’s a more formal event, you may wish to have a printed programme for guests
- Budget – this is probably the most important thing to consider! If you are a small organisation and don’t have a budget for volunteer recognition and celebration, this may restrict your plans a little. You can do a great event on a shoestring, if you can find a free venue, free certificates from your local Volunteer Centre [we produce them every year for our local groups], get people to bring a contribution towards refreshments/buffet etc.