Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Show Gratitude to Keep Your Volunteers

April 9, 2014

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If organizations expect people to carve out time from their hectic schedules to serve as volunteers and board members, they need to recognize that the most valuable gifts have no price tag on them. The true value of someone’s time and talents are measured by the joy and fulfillment they feel when they know that their help has been worthwhile. In order to build loyalty with volunteers, organizations need to reinforce these feelings through proper recognition.

Volunteers need to be treated as the professionals they are. Treat them with the respect you would give a fellow employee. Assign clear titles, job descriptions and schedules. Be sure to communicate realistic expectations of their responsibilities.

Be creative in offering fringe benefits to recognize volunteers’ gifts of time and talent.

Benefits may include:

  • VIP parking passes
  • Security guards in the parking lot for evening activities
  • Reserved seating for institutional activities or events
  • Complimentary passes or discounts on tickets to special events, dinners and other programs
  • Snack foods and beverages during meetings

Volunteer recognition needs to be planned and well-organized.

Thanks given carelessly will take the wind out of volunteers’ sails and their enthusiasm may be replaced with apathy. Every volunteer deserves to receive a written “Thank You” for his or her involvement. Whether a typed letter or personal note, the time you spend putting your thanks into words is the sincerest form of recognition.

Each thank you letter should include the following:

  • The reason for your gratitude.
  • Specific mention of the project or area the on which the volunteer worked.
  • A description of how your organization or others benefited from the volunteer’s efforts.
  • A heartfelt, handwritten note on the letter reaffirming the volunteer’s importance to the organization.
  • A signature by the appropriate person (development director, board president, CEO, executive director).

Tips for building loyalty with your volunteers and board members:

  • Remember to say “thank you” sincerely and OFTEN!
  • Schedule meetings far enough in advance so that busy volunteers can get them on their schedules.
  • Trust your volunteers to do their jobs and provide plenty of resources to assist them in completing tasks.
  • Never ask volunteers to do things that go against their professional ethics.
  • Hold an appreciation luncheon, dinner or outing for key volunteers at least once a year.
  • Answer any questions they may have in a timely manner.
  • Treat all volunteers with respect, kindness, and patience.
  • At the time that they choose to resign from their volunteer positions, thank them once again for the time and talents they have donated.

Volunteers are the life-blood of nonprofit organizations. They need to be treated as customers and rewarded for their service. When volunteers feel valued and appreciated, they will continue to serve the needs of the organization. They will also prove invaluable in recruiting other volunteers.


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