Let Volunteers Know They Make a Difference

by Rose Hamilton



One of the best ways to hold on to volunteers is to tell them you appreciate their contributions. Right now, we’re guessing your volunteers are flat-out as they help you prep for Teacher Appreciation Week, which begins May 4, and all of the other year-end events. Wouldn’t it be great to do something special for them before you wrap up the year? 

Most volunteers don’t need giant gift baskets, trips to the spa, or other grand gestures. They simply want to be acknowledged for helping their school community. Here are some ideas to let them know they’ve made a difference. 

Go public: Get the word out about your volunteers so parents and teachers knows who’s been working on behalf of your community. Thank volunteers in newsletters, in emails, and on social channels like Facebook and Twitter. 

Also, try a creative twist, like making a giant thank-you note on a bulletin board in the school. Place the names (and photos, if you have them) of the volunteers and thank them for their contributions. 

Thank-you replay: If you aren’t sure you’ve already thanked someone, thank them again. Better to have thanked someone twice than not at all. 

Celebrate: Try to fit in a get-together before year’s end. It can be a simple lunch or a coffee-and-doughnuts morning at the school. Have a little fun and give out awards (paper certificates) for special achievements, like “Most Hours on the Cash Register at the Book Fair Without Losing it!”  Time permitting, make trophies to hand out as well. 

Easy gifts: Consider giving volunteers small gifts to say thanks. We have a new slideshow of inexpensive and easy gift ideas that you’ll find helpful. 

Look ahead: While year-end volunteer tributes are important, set a goal for next year to stay in touch with helpers throughout the year to let them know you value them. Our article, “A Culture of Volunteer Appreciation,” provides tips on how to let volunteers know they make a difference throughout the year. 

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