Volunteer Recognition on a Budget: 3 Ways to Say Thank You

As an association professional, you work with a lot of dependable, hardworking volunteers, but you have little to no budget to recognize the efforts they make on behalf of your association. Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are three easy, low cost ideas to recognize your association’s volunteers:

  1. Handwritten thank you. The keyword is handwritten. Don’t underestimate the power of a personal, handwritten note. If it’s coming from the association, ask all staff members to sign the card for an added personal touch. Or, call on your board of directors to send thank you notes. The work volunteers do isn’t always visible to the larger group. Recognition by board members tells  volunteers that their time is valuable and vital. The more specific you can be with your thank you message, the more meaningful it will be.
  2. Event credit. Giving event credits to volunteers is a great way to express gratitude when you don’t have a budget. Chances are your volunteers are your association’s most faithful attendees. This can also help boost your event attendance with loyal members who can help spread the benefits of membership to other attendees.
  3. Electronic recognition. Use your existing electronic resources (website, e-newsletter, mobile app) to recognize the efforts of your volunteers. You can add a volunteer kudos section to your member e-newsletter. Request volunteer headshots and add a volunteer of the month page to your website. Can you push notifications on your association’s mobile app? Consider this avenue as another low cost, already existing way to recognize your volunteers.

The most important thing to remember about volunteer recognition is to make sure your message is meaningful and personal. You don’t have to break the bank to show your volunteers you’re grateful for their work. Do you have any other ideas for low-cost ways to recognize association volunteers?