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Best Volunteer Appreciation Gifts and Ideas

Volunteer Appreciation Day is April 20th, 2024

Where would the world be without our volunteers? Volunteering is an altruistic act that can truly leave a lasting impact on the world around us. That's why every year on April 20th, we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Day. As the name suggests, this is a day to recognize and honor volunteers in all sectors. Whether you manage a charitable organization that is staffed by volunteers or whether your company has an employee volunteer program, recognizing volunteer efforts is important. Successories offers thousands of volunteer appreciation gifts to help you make your volunteers feel special.

Best Volunteer Appreciation Gifts and Ideas

Volunteer Appreciation Day Gift Ideas

Looking for volunteer recognition ideas? Showing appreciation for your volunteers is important all year long, not only on April 20th. Boost volunteer engagement and foster happy volunteers with these gift ideas for volunteer appreciation.

The Best Organizations Recognize Volunteers

Volunteers give freely of their time and energy in the hopes of making a positive impact on the world. They do this without expectations of financial compensation or other rewards - but that doesn't mean they don't deserve to be recognized for their efforts. The best organizations make their volunteers feel appreciated by acknowledging their services with a volunteer recognition program. Keep reading for some of our best volunteer appreciation ideas.

How Volunteers Impact Successful Organizations

Volunteers are involved in so many different sectors. From cleaning up beaches and parks to working in community kitchens, and from raising money for shelters to handing out pamphlets at fundraising events, the list of ways that volunteers can make a difference is truly endless. They can be found in hospitals and retirement homes, or schools and offices.

Nonprofits and charitable organizations often depend on volunteers to operate, relying on them for tasks like researching, planning, organizing, fundraising, marketing, and more. But employee volunteer programs are important for businesses of all kinds, too.

Did you know that many research studies have shown that volunteering can boost an employee's sense of belonging at their place of employment, as well as their workplace satisfaction, productivity, motivation, and engagement?

Some studies have even found that the more an employee volunteers, the better they perform on work tasks. This is likely because of the sense of satisfaction and personal pride that volunteering can bring, knowing that your efforts are making a difference in the world, and the desire to continue making a difference in the workplace, too.

Research has also shown that potential job applicants view companies with employee volunteer programs more favorably than those without, as it helps them determine whether a company's values align with their own. In short, encouraging volunteers is a positive thing for organizations of all kinds, from nonprofits to for-profit businesses.

Why Volunteer Appreciation Day is Important

It's clear that volunteers play an important role in any organization's success - so, it should also be clear how essential it is to recognize your volunteers for their efforts and to celebrate the difference they make.

The perfect opportunity to do so is coming up soon: Volunteer Recognition Day, celebrated every year on April 20th. This day recognizes anyone who can be classified as a volunteer, whether they volunteer on their own time or through a volunteer program at work, or through another organization they are affiliated with.

This is a wonderful day to recognize your top volunteers, especially those regular volunteers who have been involved for many years - perhaps even decades! While they likely love what they do and will not be expecting any sort of recognition, a small token of your appreciation will certainly not go unnoticed.

Likewise, Volunteer Recognition Day is an excellent opportunity to encourage volunteers who are newer to the team, including young volunteers. We have many volunteer appreciation event ideas and inexpensive volunteer appreciation gifts suggested below, so be sure to keep reading if you need a bit of inspiration.

Create a Volunteer Program

If you don't yet have a volunteer program in place, this is a great time to create one. Volunteering is a two-way relationship that benefits both the organization and the volunteer (as well as the communities or individuals being supported through the volunteer efforts), so any good volunteer program should keep this core principle in mind.

It's important that your volunteers do not feel used or under appreciated; instead, they should be recognized as the valuable community members that they are. While many volunteers are deeply motivated to do the work they do, there is no denying that it can be challenging and tiring at times.

An ongoing program for recognizing your volunteers will help keep your volunteers engaged, letting them know that their tireless work and enthusiasm for the project is seen and appreciated.

Volunteer Appreciation Ideas

Not quite sure how to best recognize volunteers within your organization? Perhaps you are a nonprofit organization operating on a tight budget, and unsure whether you can really afford to participate in Volunteer Appreciation Day?

The good news is that volunteer appreciation does not need to be expensive. After all, volunteering is done without any expectation of financial compensation; this is truly a time when it's the thought that counts more than anything else. In fact, thanking volunteers can quite literally be as simple as saying "thank you!"

If you are looking for some inexpensive volunteer appreciation ideas, we have a number of great suggestions below.

Create a "Thank You" Video

In many cases, a "thank you" video can be a completely free way of thanking volunteers. Consider bringing in your executive director, volunteer managers, board members, or other members of the leadership team to say a few words addressing your volunteers and their contributions.

You could email this out to all of your volunteers, or share it on your organization's social media accounts to shine some public recognition on your volunteers. If you are hosting a luncheon or other volunteer appreciation event, you could play this video while everyone is gathered together. Short and simple is fine, but feel free to get creative, too. For example, you might incorporate video clips of your volunteers engaged in their work over the last year.

Send Thank You Notes and Cards

Thank you cards are always appropriate, including when it comes to volunteer appreciation. Never underestimate how much it can mean to someone to hear a genuine "thank you" for a job well done! Go the extra mile by putting together a thank you gift box or bag that includes a personalized thank you card as well as a few additional goodies. Gift cards to local restaurants are always a safe option for slipping into a thank you note.

Write Letters of Recommendation or LinkedIn Endorsements

When someone chooses to volunteer, they do so knowing that they won't be receiving any monetary compensation for the time, energy, and effort they are putting into their volunteer work. That said, volunteering can also be a wonderful way to learn valuable career skills while making a true difference in the world.

Maybe your nonprofit organization has benefited from a young volunteer's social media or graphic design skills. Consider writing them a letter of recommendation or a LinkedIn endorsement that they can use when seeking future career opportunities.

Leadership, communication, organization, planning, budgeting, fundraising, copywriting, designing, and marketing are just a few of the transferable skills a person might gain through their volunteer work.

Host a Volunteer Happy Hour

Everybody loves free food and drinks! Recognize your entire team of volunteers with a volunteer appreciation happy hour at a local restaurant. This would also be a great time to hand out any thank you gifts or awards, or to commemorate a major volunteer anniversary or accomplishment by stand out volunteers.

These kinds of community events can really make a difference to the overall volunteer experience, fostering a sense of community and mutual benefit between your organization and your network of volunteers.

Highlight Volunteers within Company Newsletters

Yet another free way to show volunteer appreciation is by spotlighting volunteers in your company newsletters or email blasts. You might do this by selecting one volunteer to highlight every week, month, or quarter, depending on how often your newsletters go out. You could also draw attention to any ongoing to recently completed volunteer projects. This email is sure to make your volunteers smile when it shows up in their inbox. These sort of digital volunteer appreciation ideas are also great because they may attract new volunteers as well.

Dedicate a Section of Your Website to Your Volunteers

If volunteers are an important part of your organization's success, then it is certainly worth dedicating a section of your website to your volunteers. This webpage is a place where you can discuss your organization's volunteer projects over the years, and even invite volunteers to get involved with upcoming and current projects.

If you have a small team of volunteers, consider including the entire team's names and photos, and perhaps even a short bio for each person. If you have a larger team, you may just highlight the volunteer managers and other leaders, with a group photo and general message of appreciation for the rest of your volunteers. Also consider displaying details such as cumulative volunteer hours or major accomplishments, including funds raised or projects completed over the years.

Recognition Ceremonies and Events

One of our favorite volunteer appreciation ideas is hosting a recognition ceremony or other event on or near April 20th, Volunteer Recognition Day. Choose an appropriate venue based on the size and concept of your event, and invite volunteers to attend. If possible, you may extend an invitation to their families and friends too, so that other community members can join in on celebrating your volunteers.

These kinds of volunteer events can be as formal or as casual as you like, from a structured awards ceremony to a volunteer appreciation picnic in the local park. Regardless of the type or formality of the event, we highly recommend handing out some kind of token of appreciation to your volunteers during the event. This could be something small for them to take home or display on their desk, t shirts to wear, or a thoughtful thank you gift box. Be sure to highlight the work of any volunteer leaders or top volunteers, perhaps with a special award.

Looking for virtual volunteer appreciation ideas?

The great news is that a recognition ceremony can be done entirely online, too. Host a Zoom gathering and invite volunteers to join from the comfort of their own homes. You could also invite community members to attend and share their own words of appreciation.

The goal is not to plan the biggest and most expensive event possible, but simply to bring volunteers together and share your heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for them. However you choose to recognize your volunteers, they are sure to appreciate your efforts and feel even more positively about their decisions to volunteer.

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Customer Favorite Voluneer Appreciation Day

Updated Wednesday 07-17-2024
Thanks for All You Do Affirmation Band
from Krista Barker of Panama City, FL

Thanks for All You Do Affirmation Band

My Team loved these!
My TEAM members loved this gift.

Thanks for All You Do Star - Vegan Leather Journal
from Pat Adams of Perry Hall, MD

Thanks for All You Do Star - Vegan Leather Journal

Nice soft cover
Perfect size. Very soft cover

Thanks For All You Do 12oz Mug
from Nancy M of

Thanks For All You Do 12oz Mug

Great gift set for welcoming new employees and recognizing workiversaries.