Approximately 80% of volunteers state that they would like to be recognized or thanked by their organizations by hearing about how their work has made a difference. Giving your volunteers appreciation gifts is a great way to show gratitude and goes a long way toward creating an environment that your volunteers want to continue being a part of.
Your volunteers do a fantastic job in helping your nonprofit turn its dreams for a better community into reality. Volunteers are passionate about your cause, donate their time and skills to make a positive impact. In return, they deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their contributions. Showing your gratitude to your volunteers is key to boosting volunteer engagement and retention.
In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of some top volunteer appreciation gift ideas and why they are beneficial for your organization. We’ll cover these topics:
Volunteer appreciation is a crucial component of boosting volunteer satisfaction by increasing their self esteem and confidence. When your volunteers feel like their contributions are acknowledged and appreciated, they’ll feel much more inclined to continue participating in the future. Let’s dive in to learn more!
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Benefits of volunteer appreciation gifts
Volunteers who feel noticed and appreciated are more likely to continue volunteering with you long-term and spread the word about how appreciative your organization is! Prioritizing volunteer appreciation not only motivates your volunteers but also contributes to your nonprofit’s long-term success.
Here are some additional benefits of volunteer appreciation gifts:
Increase in volunteer satisfaction and retention
Showing appreciation for volunteers lets them know you value their time and contributions, resulting in greater volunteer satisfaction and retention. Expressing appreciation is essential for promoting your volunteers’ feeling of self-worth, resulting in a greater quality of work.
Encourage new volunteers to join
Expressing gratitude publicly to volunteers can potentially encourage new volunteers to join your organization as well. When your current volunteers feel valued, they will surely let their friends and families know that your organization acknowledges their volunteer efforts.
Boost in engagement levels
When you show your gratitude through volunteer appreciation gifts, it makes your volunteers feel special, and it goes a long way in keeping your volunteers engaged and involved. It will help your organization retain high-performing volunteers.
Go the extra mile with your appreciation efforts by reviewing your volunteer database to gather data on your top-performing volunteers. You can personalize your messages to these volunteers by using their preferred names and referencing their specific number of volunteer hours.
For instance, if you’re looking to hand out appreciation certificates to your volunteers in front of your entire team, highlight special accomplishments such as how they surpassed the average number of hours volunteered this year to make them feel special. You can also send them a personalized thank-you email along with your volunteer appreciation gift for them to save!
15 best volunteer appreciation gift ideas
Whether big or small, any form of volunteer appreciation means a lot to your volunteers. Volunteer appreciation gifts help show volunteers that your organization celebrates their hard work and recognizes their efforts. If you’re brainstorming some gift ideas, we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of some great volunteer appreciation gift ideas which can be completely customized to suit your organization’s brand and mission.
Many of these gift ideas are types of merchandise that can be branded with your organization’s colors and logo. This allows you to show gratitude to volunteers while increasing awareness of your organization’s name and logo in the community. Let’s take a closer look!
Gifting your volunteers a t-shirt is a great way to build team spirit. When volunteers are all dressed alike during volunteer activities, it will give them a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Volunteer t-shirts are also a great way to promote your volunteer program to a larger audience. You can use a t-shirt design platform like Bonfire to design your t-shirts in any way you want. Remember to brand your shirts with your organization’s colors and logo.
Many people like to start their day off with a warm beverage or coffee. Designing mugs for your volunteers with your organization’s logo along with your volunteers’ names reminds them of your organization each time they enjoy a drink! Mugs are a great gift since it’s less likely that your volunteers will lose them, and your logo won’t wear away over time.
Having an extra water bottle always comes in handy! A reusable water bottle is a useful item that your volunteers can use every day and take with them wherever they go. Branding your water bottle design with your organization’s logo and colors will also help raise awareness of your nonprofit. Ensure your water bottle is durable. Consider offering high-quality stainless steel water bottles because they’re strong enough to last a while.
Give your volunteers a gift card to their favorite local business or restaurant. It’s a great way to express your gratitude since volunteers can choose for themselves what they’d like to purchase! Remember to ask your volunteers what type of food they prefer beforehand.
We’re still living in a pandemic and many people are still buying new masks. Giving your volunteers a custom-designed mask can be the perfect gift as they’re guaranteed to be useful! Remember to use a durable material that doesn’t cause irritations and vary your size options. Make things exciting by asking your volunteers to submit their own mask designs and send out a poll to decide the winning design. This can be a fun way to engage your volunteers and remind them of a fun memory whenever they wear their masks!
Hats make an excellent merchandise gift as they’re easy to style with your clothes. Depending on the preferences of your volunteers, you can provide some with baseball hats and some with winter hats. Hats are also a great way to get your nonprofit’s name around and make your volunteers feel like they’re important members of your organization.
Tote bags are a gift that can be used over and over again. Plenty of individuals use tote bags at the grocery store or department stores. Some even use tote bags as a purse! To stand out, consider using a sustainable tote bag designed for every age.
You can design a short photo book related to your mission. You can incorporate pictures of your volunteers and their roles, and even team pictures for your volunteers to keep and look back on! Or, you can give a gift card to a bookstore for your volunteers to purchase any book of their interest.
Get creative and design your own blankets! It’s not very common to give someone a custom-designed blanket, so this is the perfect chance to create a unique, memorable gift. You can host a contest for your volunteers to come up with designs for their blankets. Volunteers can vote for their favorite option. You can also let volunteers choose the type of material, such as fleece or cotton.
This is a perfect volunteer appreciation gift idea, especially for environmental-related nonprofits. Who doesn’t love a fresh new plant to take care of? Having a plant boosts your mood, productivity, concentration, and creativity, and they help reduce stress. You can also create a custom-designed planter or vase to go with your plant, complete with your nonprofit’s logo.
This could be a group shot of all the volunteers or an individual portrait of each volunteer. Your volunteers can place these portraits anywhere in their homes to remind them how special they are to your team.
You can give your volunteer free tickets to any sporting event, concert, or festival. Remember to ask your volunteers what type of events or concerts they’re interested in so you know exactly what type of tickets to gift them.
Host a fun experience to show appreciation to volunteers. For instance, this can be an appreciation gala where everybody dresses up and you hand out awards to your volunteers! Or, perhaps you want to plan a team lunch or dinner or even a bowling night for everyone to connect in a different setting. This is a great opportunity to allow your volunteers to have fun and get to know one another.
There are many different kinds of calendars. You can get creative and design a beautiful calendar that volunteers can place on their desks or walls. Use different volunteer pictures for each month so volunteers can look back on a special memory each month. You can also leave some space for your volunteers to take notes or make to-do lists.
Giving your volunteers a nice pair of socks to keep their feet warm during the winter months is a great gift idea to make them think of you. Even though socks are pretty simple, they’re useful, and you can never have too many! Design your socks with your nonprofit’s logo and colors, and make sure they’re durable and comfortable.
There you have it! All of these volunteer appreciation gifts are guaranteed to make your volunteers feel special and strengthen their bonds with your organization. Remember to personalize your gifts to make them stand out from generic gifts.
8 inexpensive volunteer appreciation gift ideas
Your organization doesn’t have to spend a ton of money to show volunteers you care! Your volunteers will appreciate any form of recognition. They’re passionate about your cause and support you for a reason.
There are plenty of inexpensive volunteer appreciation gifts that are just as heartfelt as any other token of gratitude. Let’s explore some ideas!
Handwritten notes or cards from community members
Invite community members to write personal letters to the volunteers who made a difference in their lives. There’s no doubt your volunteers would love to see that their hard work has paid off. Nothing will feel better than words of gratitude coming from those who they served! For school volunteers, you can gather thank-you notes from students and teachers.
Letters from your nonprofit’s staff members or executive director
A letter straight from your staff members or executive director will leave your volunteers feeling happy and satisfied, boosting volunteer engagement and retention. If you have the time and supplies, you should handwrite these letters or cards to make them even more special.
Certificate of appreciation
Consider offering certificates highlighting your volunteers’ accomplishments. You can also go into your volunteer database and mention any outstanding accomplishments, such as reaching a certain amount of hours or raising a certain amount of fundraising contributions. These certificates will motivate your volunteers to continue putting their best foot forward.
A hot chocolate mix
Who doesn’t love a warm cup of hot chocolate? You can make individual mason jars for each volunteer and tag the jars with their names to personalize them. This is a fun volunteer appreciation gift idea, and volunteers will look forward to making their homemade hot chocolate.
A candy or snack mix
This can be great to hand out at volunteer events to keep volunteers motivated and give them a burst of energy during the event. You can even use cute puns in the tags on each snack pack, such as “Our volunteers are so sweet!” Remember to be aware of any allergies your volunteers may have. You can create different mixes depending on the preferences of your volunteers.
This is another excellent option for environmentally-focused organizations. Volunteers can take the seeds home and help them grow. You can ask your volunteers what their favorite flowers are and hand them out accordingly. Or, you can give flower seeds according to the role of your volunteers.
Many volunteers, such as high school or college students, would appreciate a letter of recommendation from one of your staff members. Letters of recommendation help volunteers achieve internships, jobs, and other opportunities. These letters can help boost volunteers’ chances of getting their desired opportunity, and they look great from an employer’s perspective. Mention all the outstanding achievements your volunteers have accomplished!
Have your volunteer manager or executive director endorse volunteers on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great place to exhibit professional skills and achievements, and when recruiters or employers view your volunteers’ profiles, they’ll notice that they’ve been endorsed by volunteer managers or executive directors themselves. Your volunteers will surely appreciate this, as it will look great on their profiles!
Hopefully, you’ve generated some great ideas after reading our recommendations. Remember, it’s not always about the type of gift you’re using to express your gratitude or how expensive the gifts are. Any form of acknowledgment and appreciation plays an essential role in encouraging your volunteers to continue supporting you and making them feel like integral members of your team.
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Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of volunteer appreciation gifts, along with some gift ideas, it’s time to get creative! Providing a great volunteer experience can help any organization retain and expand its volunteer program and can even encourage volunteers to become donors in the future. Remember to personalize your gifts to make them stand out and choose your gifts according to the preferences of your volunteers.
If you’re looking for more information on how to engage with volunteers more effectively, review these additional resources:
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